"This fog is thick as peanut butter."

"You mean pea soup."

"You eat what you like and I'll eat what I like!"

- Yukon Cornelius and Hermey the Elf

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Let's Go To The Zoo

I've found one of the advantages of dating someone with kids, is that you can get them to take you fun places "for the kids' sake." This works especially well if you make suggestions in front of the children in question, as said parent would look mean if he said "no." And this is how I got to go to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse last weekend.

As an ex-zookeeper, and someone who has seen a little of the best and worst that American zoos have to offer, I have to give this particular zoo very high marks indeed. I was really pleasantly surprised at what a nice zoo Syracuse has. Mom tells me that years ago this was a typical "bars and concrete" zoo, but that has changed and I didn't see any evidence of the old cages. Each exhibit was very natural and appropriately sized for the animals.

The zoo was nicely spaced out, and perfect for little kids - there weren't any long walks with no animals to see. They also had a rather large collection of animals, including a very nice indoor bird room that we could walk through.

I didn't take a lot of pictures, but here we have a pile o' lemurs:

Some yakety yaks (don't talk back).

Penguins! (Humboldts)

And don't we all have days when we feel like this guy? That's a very relaxed Spectacled Bear.

At the close of the day, we find here a very happy little boy, completely enthralled by the elephant in the background.

Say what you want about the controversies surrounding zoos, but I don't know of any better way to get kids to be excited about animals (and saving them) than to put them right up close to a real, live elephant.


At 12:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That does look a lot better than the old "bars and cages" style zoo. My kids get kinda sad when they see wild animals in captivity. There is a "Zonkey" inside a guys fence on the way to our favorite fishing spot. He always looks lonely. We always try to take him an apple or a cinnamon roll when we can.
-Long Lost Cousin

At 6:01 PM, Anonymous anteve said...

Hey... must admit I've never seen a pile of lemurs before!! Kind of makes you want to be at the bottom of the pile, doesn't it?

If this is the old Burnett Park Zoo, and it must be, hallelujah for the change! In the 60's and 70's the zoo had some terrible tragedies, and was in horrible condition. An elephant that grew up indoors.. and had to have a wall removed to get outside. A lunatic killing all the baby animals in the petting zoo. And that's just two things...

So glad that it has changed.

At 7:19 PM, Blogger Wendy Merganser said...

Yup! It's the old Burnett Park Zoo. And I should add that there were at least 3 elephants with two different enclosures. (It looked like one was for training.) I have sort of a pet peeve about zoos with only one elephant - they need companionship.

At 7:21 PM, Blogger Wendy Merganser said...

Hi Long Lost Cousin!

I love Zonkies! Too bad he's alone - they need "friends" too. Poor guy.

At 2:30 PM, Blogger Sue said...

I haven't been to the zoo in Syracuse in a few years. Last fall we went to the zoo in Rochester which was fun. They have a rhino who is fun to watch. And a great polar bear exhibit. Their exhibits aren't as natural as Syracuse's but they are working on them.

At 7:44 PM, Anonymous kathyjh said...

jeepers, wen. you forgot to mention the best news of all- the Eight sloths. can't wait to visit this place once more.

At 6:35 PM, Anonymous anteve said...

I keep coming back to look at the pile of lemurs... think I'll have to make them my wallpaper for a while.

what are they doing? Are they resting? Or are they having a tickle-fest? Hard to tell in a still shot!

At 8:01 PM, Blogger Wendy Merganser said...

They didn't so much as twitch an ear - I think they were all sound asleep.


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