Everyone wanted to take my daughter to the zoo. It’s been mentioned by every grandparent on multiple occasions and by other relatives as well. I’ve never been a fan of zoos, but I couldn’t remember why I stopped going after the 2nd grade field trip.
My father-in-law took my daughter, my husband, and I to the zoo recently and I can tell you why I dislike zoos. They are so boring. At least the zoo we went to. I don’t know that I’ve ever been to any others.
It was short notice. We got a text message asking us to go to the zoo an hour and half before he wanted to leave. It’s an hour drive each way. The second longest car trip my daughter has ever been on. We were not prepared to leave the house. It had also been a long week of plumbing issues that had finally been resolved that morning so we were all looking forward to showers and I had planned to spend the rest of the day catching up on laundry.
My daughter on the other hand was so excited as soon as she heard the word zoo. We spelled it when we said it, but she’s a reader now so that doesn’t actually work any more. She was literally vibrating with excitement and telling me she was a zoo animal man and could we leave now for the zoo, please mommy.
We lost the battle of postponing the trip. We got everyone showered and ready to go within an hour a half and I stressed myself out about everything the whole time.
We finally got to the zoo after getting lost and making wrong turns twice, bought tickets for the zoo and the train, and went in to a building labeled zoo. It was dark and stinky and my daughter wanted nothing to do with it. I should mention none of us had ever been here before aside from my one trip in elementary school that I don’t actually remember.
My daughter cried and wanted to run or be picked up after each animal she saw. I had her on her harness which only she and I seem to be able to happily use together. No one else is quite as in tune with her and she tries to go one way while the other adult goes another way and they both end up grumpy. I just always know by her body language and watching where she’s looking which way she’s about to dart and I keep up with her pretty well.
I finally found an exit and got her out of the dark building and then just let her lead us where ever she wanted to go. She would walk until she found an animal display/cage/environment (I don’t actually know what the animal houses are called) and then call out it’s name before moving on approximately one second later. She was on the move going in circles for over an hour before she found a ‘park’. It was a wooden structure made to play on. It was a set of stairs, 4 bridges, and then stairs on the other side. This was officially what she wanted to do for the rest of the day.
We’re overprotective parents so one of us walked behind her the whole time she played. We all got our workouts in. We literally could have taken her to a park a block from our house and she would have had just as much fun.
We finally got her off the play area to go on the train ride. She enjoyed that a lot and so did I. It was probably the highlight of my zoo day. We were still, there was a slight breeze. If there had been an alcoholic beverage it would have been pretty close to perfect.
After the train ride we finally found a map so we could find the two things my daughter desperately wanted to see. The llamas and the zebra. The zebra was on the exact opposite side of the park. It was important to her though so we all set out to find him. And he was inside where we couldn’t see him. We waited and she was finally able to see his head poke out. It made her day, or at least her minute, before she ready to move on to anything else. The llamas she gave even less time to. She did have to buy a stuffed llama to take home though.
The only thing she was actually frightened of was the giraffe and she cried each time we happened to go past it.
Overall at the end of the visit I was exhausted and sweaty and my daughter was exhausted and cranky and we still had a couple more stops before the long drive home.
My overall impression of the zoo was that I could watch random animals sleep or otherwise ignore us on television and be just as satisfied. And I could do it without walking all over the place.
However, even though she didn’t stop moving the full two hours we were there and never looked at any one animal or object for more than two seconds at one time, she must have enjoyed it because she is still talking about getting to see a zebra and she is asking to go back to the zoo again.
Her enjoyment is what matters in the long run, but zoos are definitely not by cup of tea.
What do you think of zoos? Boring? or Amazing?