Tuesday, February 08, 2005

 

Zoos I Have Visited

As I said yesterday the first zoo I ever visited was the Memphis Zoo. I didn't go to another zoo until I was a senior in college, and I went to the Knoxville Zoo. During the 1970s, I went to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. shortly after the first panda bears went on exhibit in the United States. Although I loved the pandas, the aviary at the zoo was my favorite. When I saw the different foods that the keepers were feeding the birds, I was amazed. The meals looked like something humans would eat. I never realized that zoo animals ate such a varied diet. I had assumed that they ate something like dog or cat kibble.

I don't think that I went to another zoo until my husband and I started dating in 1990. Many weekends were spent by us at now closed Nashville Zoo, which was located in Joelton, Tenn. We spent many days of our two-year courtship there, then never went back after we married. But we started traveling to other zoos: Atlanta, St. Louis and the best of all, San Diego. I cracked a bone in my foot at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and hobbled through the St. Louis Zoo in lots of pain with lots of Advil. The penquins were my favorite animal in St. Louis. Atlanta, I guess, the gorillas were my favorite. In San Diego, I remember most the bus ride throughout the park. My favorite animals at the Nashville Zoo in Joelton were the giraffes and the reptile house.

I expanded over the years to include aquariums in my travels. Seattle had the first aquarium I visited. We visited the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, where the catfish was a favorite of mine. The only other aquarium I've visited is the one in Long Beach, Calif.

I travel a lot to the Midwest for my job, so I've been to the Minnesota Zoo in Minneapolis several times. By far, my favorite animal there is the komodo dragon. There were two during my first visit, but one died. Its skeleton is on exhibit. The dolphins are a main attraction at that zoo, and I enjoyed the show. Plus I love the bengal tiger exhibit which was featured on Ultimate Zoo. I've also been to the Milwaukee Zoo a few times. It's the only zoo where I've seen beer offered, but Miller Beer is a major sponsor of the facility.

A cool place I visited last year was Reptile Gardens in Rapid City, S.D. I saw my first and only boom slang there. I was so excited that I called my husband and described every detail to him.

Monday, February 07, 2005

 

Zooperbowl Sunday

A tradition at the Nashville Zoo is a free day on Super Bowl Sunday. These days at this zoo are always well attended, but with temperatures in the mid sixties after nine days of rain, a large crowd showed up. I was there around 10 in the morning, then left around 3 p.m. It took me 30 minutes to go the 1/4 mile from the parking lot to the road. All along the 1/4 mile road, crowds (as large as the ones at a Titans' football game) were walking toward the zoo. Someone had a dog with them, and I hoped that it was a seeing eye dog, as pets are not allowed in the zoo.

I noticed how excited all the children were. I felt sad because I knew that they would not have a lot of time to see all the animals as the zoo was scheduled to close at four. I remembered my first trip to a zoo. I was four years old; in 1957, my family visited an aunt and uncle in Savannah, Tenn., and we went to the Memphis Zoo. I remember seeing "monkeys" in a large black wrought iron cage. These animals had bare bottoms and dark fur. They climbed around the cage and showed us their butts. I remember riding a pony because I have a snapshot of me on the animal. I was infatuated by chimps at the time, so I'm sure that's why I remember the "monkeys" so vividly. A chimp was always on my list for Santa each year. And a couple of times, I received a stuffed one.

In the news today, there are cheetah cubs on display at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. These are on display at the discretion of the keepers. They are ten weeks old. The Louisville Zoo has two rare Steller's eagles on display. They are the largest eagles in the world, according to an article at kentucky.com. One of the eagles at the Louisville Zoo has a nine foot wing span.

Friday, February 04, 2005

 

Ultimate Zoo

A really great show was on tonight, Ultimate Zoo on Animal Planet. Tonight's show featured the Bengal Tiger exhibit at the Minnesota Zoo. I've seen this exhibit a couple of times: once in the heat of summer, no tigers were seen; last fall I was as close to a bengal as I could be and still live. The plexiglass barrier I learned tonight is 1.5". I stood forever watching the tiger pace along the glass. The animal has an extremely large head and is beautiful. I learned tonight on the show that the area in front of the plexiglass is heated in the winter and cooled in the summer to encourage the animal to stay there. Also, the bengals at the Minnesota Zoo have reproduced, which is a miracle in captivity. The mother did abandon the young, but the keepers are raising them.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

 

Once You Get Started

I became hooked on blogging through my job at Hammock Publishing. Rex Hammock, the owner, has blogged about magazines since 2002. Last year, he received notoriety for blogging about a visit with President Bush at the White House.

Recently I blogged on the Hammock employee blog about a press check I did for MyBusiness magazine in Milwaukee, WI, and I got addicted. So bad that I started my own blog about zoos and animals, a passion of mine.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

 

All That's Good About Zoos

This blog is about all that's good about zoos. It's not a place to debate whether or not zoos should exist. In a perfect world, zoos would not exist, but then, this has proven not to be a perfect world. I believe it's up to each of us to mirror what a perfect world could be. That's what a good zoo does.

Zoos are always helping out in unseen ways to the public. Here is a story about the Tulsa Zoo where an injured bald eagle was rehabilitated and released recently.

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