When we were kids, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo was the bomb.
It was quite a hike. The zoo is literally on a mountain. In Colorado Springs. But when you’re young and spry, it doesn’t matter. We might not have done all the cool things the white kids in our neighborhood did, but this one was awesome.
As a dad, I got to bring my girls to zoos, too. Riverbanks Zoo & Garden. Greenville (S.C.) Zoo. North Carolina Zoo. Knoxville Zoo. Man, those are some great memories.
Today, I’m wrapping up the A to Z Challenge with a limp – coming in with wacky facts I found about zoos. Hey, Q, X, and Z are the biggest challenges of the month!
1. It doesn’t work that way
Officials at the Murayama Zoo tried to play matchmaker for a pair of hyenas for 5 years. No babies. They finally realized they were both males. Fun fact: Hyenas aren’t dogs nor cats. They have their own group, called Hyaenidae.
2. Look out, Peg Bundy
Don’t roll into Chessington World of Adventures Zoo in your leopardskin jumper. Animals in the Zufari exhibit there tended to herd toward friendly patterns and flee from those of their predators. Bad news either way.
The zoo provided a grey jumpsuit to any patrons who didn’t heed the warning. (It makes me wonder what the elephants thought of that.)
3. Maybe it’s because …
Elephants can recognize their own reflection. Often some cats and dogs think it’s another cat or dog in the mirror or water bowl and are ready to rumble. Higher primates can do this, as can … magpies.
(I swear our cat Toulouse stares at his reflection in his water bowl, though.)
4. Rest in peace, mate
Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, is buried at the Australia Zoo. My girls loved his adventures and larger-than-life personality. I used to imitate him, especially when venturing in to wake up one of the girls in the morning (they can be quite croc-like at that hour.)
5. Words in captivity
Remember the Dr. Seuss book If I Ran The Zoo? (Any parent can relate.) He quoted inhabitants as a Nerkle, a Nerd, and a Seersucker, too! This could be the first mention of a Nerd in literature.
Which would explain why I loved taking my girls to the zoo so much.
What about you? I know the zoo debate isn’t exactly free of controversy, but do you have any fun memories of your childhood from the zoo? Or taking your kids there?
Thank you for sticking with me through the A to Z Challenge!
E is for End-of-your-career awards
F is for Frank, my uncle
H is for ✊🏻 haiku (my quarantine journal)
L is for learn
P is for purify your mindset
Q is for quarterback
V is for the various roles I play