The Zoo Conundrum

To zoo or not to zoo?  We went to the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago last weekend, on a gorgeous spring day.  What an fabulous location, this free oasis in the city next to the glorious blue Lake Michicagn and Lincoln Park, teeming with people.  It’s amazing to me that this place is free to all who come.

We had been there before for a Gin Blossoms summer concert (which aren’t free), but our kids haven’t wandered the grounds for several years.  On a perfect summer night, I can’t think of a more fun place to hear live music.

While I have an extremely hard time seeing animals living in their spaces, I know there are advantages to having them live in captivity.  Man is destroying their habitats, poaching, and encroaching upon their lands, so the zoo can be their place to their species to breed and survive for now.  Zoos are used for research to learn more about the myriads of animals in our world as we find ways to re-introduce species into the wild.

I also know my kids seeing the elegant giraffe, playful sea lions, and hissing cockroaches in person will give them a much better appreciation of the animals that live no where near us–so they might take better care of the world around them. My daughters had recently had a fennec fox come to their school, so they were able to tell me about this adorable creature.  We certainly don’t have the funds to travel the world to see all these animals in person.

There were some new an improved exhibits at the zoo since we had last been there.  The ape house now gives the animals much more room to play, and we we very impressed with the new African rainforest house. 

However, as I watched the gorillas swing from bamboo-loooking poles, I could not help but think of Charelton Heston in Planet of the Apes on display in a cage.  I tried to suppress that idea and enjoy the moment.

I must say that all the kids loved the day at the zoo, learned a little more about our world near and far, and truly enjoyed seeing the animals in person.  The polar bears were certainly good for a laugh, and the rhinos gave an educational display as they engaged in a little “afternoon delight”, oblivious to the onlookers. Turn off your video cameras, fools! 

It’s been awhile since I have written. Feels great to be back. C

2 thoughts on “The Zoo Conundrum

  1. Marie Kennedy

    C’mon Cindy, there is no conundrum. Zoos are just plain fun. No, really, without zoos and the ability of the general public to see and appreciate the animals, many would never care whether animals and their habitat are protected.

    We really enjoyed the experience with all of you. But to me, the best “exhibit” was watching Aidan and Anya walking hand in hand with Uncle Bob. (Not to mention, the fun they had with the rest of you!)

    That’s why we make the trip.

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