Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Field Trip: To the Zoo!

It's been a long time since we've been to the Indianapolis Zoo, and yet it's still a familiar, welcoming place to be. We still know all the shortcuts to all the drinking fountains, the best shady benches, and the fact that you should really go into the exit to the Forest exhibit and out the entrance, because otherwise you'll have to backtrack later.

Of COURSE we sat in the splash zone. It's just not the zoo if you don't smell like dolphin all day!
The orangutan exhibit is actually new since our zoo membership lapsed, although during our family overnight here, we visited the "backstage" area where the orangutans were already in residence. 

This meerkat's incredible dedication to its guard duty cracked me up, and also, Syd still100% remembers her traumatizing experiences watching Meerkat Manor as a toddler

We were in the Plains area, and actually at the cheetah exhibit, less than 48 hours before one of the Cheetahs made its Great Escape. All we saw, however, were cheetahs like sleepy kitties drowsing in the shade, but this elephant was up to pretty great things:

This is the flamingo that nearly bit Will when she reached under the fence to steal a dropped feather. Perfectly within its rights, I say.

It was a super hot day, and it wasn't just the elephants who enjoyed the water!

Sleepy koala! Long after the kids had grown bored with the koala, we stayed to eavesdrop on this older woman who was experiencing the happiest moment of her life to date there. Every time the koala twitched a sleeping limb, she'd squeal and then start cooing to it in baby talk. It. Was. Great!
My favorite place to watch the dolphin show is in the underwater dome.

See that blue blur next to Will's ear? That's a blue morpho, fluttering around looking for a landing spot. See the looks on the kids' faces? That's each of them desperately wishing for the butterfly to land on her.
Seriously, Syd was the butterfly whisperer on this day. I told her that she must smell like fermented fruit.
Will was SO stoked to spot this bee. The kids are going to add it to the citizen scientist program's registry on Friday.
Both of these kids are VERY good at petting dog sharks.

I, personally, don't really love zoos--observing animals in captivity bothers me--but both kids have always adored them, and therefore zoos have always been an important part of our curriculum. I try to think of the zoo animals as heroes for their species, sacrifices that are here to teach compassion and conservation, and for my kids, at least, they've done their job in spades. Both of my kids are very aware of the plight of animals in a world overtaken by humans, and they, at least, will grow up to be adults who always have that in mind in the course of all of their decisions.

Even if Will says that she no longer wants to be a zoo worker when she grows up. Now, apparently, she wants to be a pilot.

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