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).
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.