Monday, May 26, 2008

Animal Crackers

Ever since we've been in Tulsa I've been trying to go to the zoo. It's not that I HAVE to go to the zoo or die, it's just that I know kids love the zoo and being a Children's Minister...well you can do the math. The first time I attempted a trip to the zoo, I chose one of only two day that the zoo closes a year. Can't win the lottery, but I can choose one of only TWO days that the zoo is closed. My second attempt was rained out--that's when I gave up. I resigned myself to the fact that I wasn't ever going to see the zoo.

I can remember going to the Springfield, MO zoo as a child. One particular trip is most memorable. My parent's good friends and eventual neighbors, the Schmidt's, went to the Springfield zoo with us one time. Roger was a particularly cocky fella always cutting up and trying to make folks laugh. I always thought he was a little on the odd side, but never said anything. This zoo trip, Roger was taunting the baboons rather relentlessly. Most people would make monkey sounds at them and stuff like that to which the stoic baboons would just sit resolute picking the gnats out of their friend. This particular taunting from Roger caught them on a bad day because one baboon defecated or excreted something and flung it on Roger with amazing aim and precision. Roger slowly turned hands extended as if he were about to take flight sputtering the substance from his eyes. I was gobsmacked! I can't say we ever went to the zoo with them, and I'm certain he never taunted a primate again.

As zoos go, the Tulsa zoo is fairly nice. I wouldn't say it's huge by the standards of the Fort Worth Zoo or other larger zoos in the country, but it's nice. The admission was very reasonable and the grounds well kept. As we rode the train around the zoo I did notice some exhibits that were no longer being used which has become overgrown and other clutter, but nothing to throw the towel in over.

At the chimp exhibit, we were bushwhacked by a zoo friend who shared some interesting facts about chimps. Unfortunately he did not do it in an interesting way or a very engaging way I must say. It was rather like listen to roll call at Ferris Beuller's school! Titus just stood there with this awkward, gotta get out of here, stance that only a 5 year old could pull off. He couldn't wait for this guy to stop talking so he could move on. If you are ever at the zoo and there is a zoo friend sitting down smiling, return the smile but do not under any circumstances stop and engage him--unless you are really interested in being bored out of your mind. The picture above is of Titus posing inside the frame of an actual sized Chimp, full grown. We tried to get him to make a monkey face but he was out it was all we could do to get him to do this.

One thing we enjoyed watching was the newest addition to the family, Chip, frolicking around with his Momma. Too cure to see that little guy clambering around and playing...then all of a sudden--hop on Mom's back for a ride to the shade. Titus and Levi were very interested in this exhibit, Levi kept making the monkey sounds and did a good job of it. This picture is of Titus, Kendra, and Emma looking at the Chimp habitat. Kendra is reading the Zoo Keeper's notes about these particular chimp's behavior and such. That was a very interesting part of this Zoo, the Keeper's Notes, because it helped you feel a better connection to the animals.

Next we went to the Polar Bear exhibit and I have to say, "Polar Bears are cool." This huge animal was swimming around in this Arctic exhibit, and was bigger than I had thought. I told Titus he was carrying a Coca-Cola and Titus got all excited, but I burst the bubble as soon as it as blown.

This guy kept swimming back and forth, back and forth over and over the whole time, I was beginning to think it might have been crazy, but there really isn't anything else to do but laps. Inside the exhibit you could go down to an observation pit and see the bear swim under water which was really, really cool. I would have to give, "Cola"[my name not the name bequeathed to him by the zoo] the prize for most interesting. It was very neat to watch him swimming and interacting in the water.

Our zoo has a bald eagle, I think Oklahoma City has one too. These things are quite impressive. I have been told that the only way to get a bald eagle in a zoo is if the eagle is handicapped. I don't think this eagle could fly at all because it kept trying to flap, flap, flap away, but just couldn't get anywhere--poor thing. Their talons are immense and really shocked me as to how big these fellas really are. This eagle didn't look particularly big, maybe it was a baby or something.

The Children's' zoo was closed, but the goat and sheep pen was open. I've never smelled a stronger concentration of crap than at this place---well maybe the fair, but geez this stunk! Titus was determined to pet a goat and sheep. Mind you that Kendra's Grandmother raises goats and Titus could have petted all the goats he wanted to at Granny's, but this was a zoo goat and that gave him 10 million extra cool points. He was a very proud boy petting that goat. The goat he chose to pet was licking salt. It was pretty warm, which made me wonder, "if I were a goat, would I want to lick a block of salt?" Maybe, but I don't want to be a goat--nope! I was nervous as a cat and ready to fumigate he and I by the time we left that pin. WHEW! They stink.

Emma was along for the ride the whole time and just looked around at where she was. She was ultimately relaxed and happy as long as we had drinks and snacks handy--she was good to go. She's easy going and always takes things as they come. We kept trying to get her to wear sunglasses, but she just wouldn't. I was teasing with her to keep them on and she was fully playing the game right along with me having the best time. She loves to play, I'm not doing what you say. We always get stares when with our kids because they are off the charts with cuteness. How, tell me, how can you not look at this face and say it isn't' cute? We love our Radio flyer wagon incidentally. It has flip up seats to hold to riders, or you can fold them down and have a flatbed. I would ask the Radio Flyer people to please allow the pull handle to turn the wagon, please? The front wheels on ours pivot, which I don't really like. How can you ride down a hill in this thing!

Kendra and I commented on the shock of so many teenager's being inappropriate with their girl/boyfriend. It was beyond just holding hands which is fine to what I would say is just groping. Where are these parents? Why did they not teach their daughters that they should not compromise their dignity or chastity...where are the Dad's to taught their son's to not "go out with" girls who think so little of their own bodies that they offer it up to just anyone? Where are they? There is beauty and wonder and honor and dignity in chastity. Please tell your sons that they need to respect girls and honor them and be turned off by girls who do, because they think so little of themselves. Please tell your daughters that no matter what they are wonderful, and beautiful, and that their chastity and dignity and honor is something that can only be given once, to chose wisely whom you honor with that gift and make it count. Sigh.

All in all the Tulsa Zoo was fun and I would go back. On the way out I pointed to Kendra and said, "look my favorite sign in the whole place." "What?" "Right there...EXIT." I got a whack, but it was a whack of, "I totally agree...but this was a great day and our kids had a great time and we are both really, really tired but our kids will never forget this" kind of whack.


Tracy said...

looks like a nice trip. I've definitely done a lot of zoos in my time. Bronx, one in CT, National, Arizona... i think there must be more but my brain is mush