Friday, March 20, 2009

Dr. Dontlittle

I hate the zoo.

(There, I said it. )

This is pretty hard for an animal lover like me to admit. But it's true. I finally just realized it today. I always thought I liked the zoo, but I think I have just been brain-washed into thinking I did. Because today, after taking my kids to the zoo, I had the decidedly strong feeling that I don't want to do that again for a LONG LONG time.. I hope my kids didn't have that great of a time, either, because they're not likely to see the zoo again until they're getting ready to go to college. Or untiil I suffer enough short-term memory loss to forget how much I hate going to the zoo.

I liked the zoo as a kid. We went to the Detroit Zoo often, a large and well-done zoo, I thought. And I liked the zoo as a young adult. I didn't go often, but when visiting my nieces and nephews (prior to having my own kids), I always liked to take them. But since having my own kids, I've begun to realize that the zoo sucks. I'm not sure if it's all zoos or just the Hogle Zoo. I really think it's just zoos in general. But here is why I hate the zoo:

1) It's a lot of pushing around strollers and lifting up kids. Trying to keep track of them, keep them from running off, keep them from eating the duck food that is left in the duck food dispensers that look all too much like gumball machines. Keeping them from knocking on every single snake enclosure. Keeping them from drinking the swan pond water. Keeping them from becoming human experiments as to just how domesticated the bears really are. It's tiring.

2) It's hot. You would think mid-60's was perfect zoo weather. I have thought that for at least the last 3 times I've gone. But it's not. It's way too hot for the zoo. All the walking, pushing, retrieving, and yelling at of kids causes your body temperature to rise an addition al 15-25 degrees, making the mid-60's feel more like the low 100's, which is, obviously, an insane temperature to walk around the zoo in. You would think I would have learned my lesson by now. But clearly I haven't. Every time it cools down in the fall or warms up in the spring, I think "Hey, the weather is perfect for the zoo!" and I go there to roast myself. AGAIN.

3) The animals are bums. They're just plain lazy, underachievers. I'm sorry, but it's the truth. I've never seen such a slovenly, boring, anti-social group of animals. Don't they know that monkeys are supposed to swing around on those plastic vines and hollar at the visitors? Don't they know that snow leopards are supposed to leap through the enclosure and roar? Don't they know that crocodiles are supposed to slither along the concrete rivers, ripping fish and ducks to shreds? Don't they know that elephants are supposed to lift up those big fiberglass logs and toss them in the pond? And don't the penguins know that that it is typical penguin behavior to actually ENTER the water, not stand around on the paper mache rocks right outside the zoo keeper door waiting for him to come back??? Seriously, someone needs to work on teaching the animals how to be more entertaining.

4) Zoos are way too p.c. these days. I'm sure Mr. Tiger really enjoys his ergonomically, ecologically, zoologically correct grassy highland habitat. But it sucks for me. All it gives me is nice wide view of trees and weeds. Trees, weeds, and the underwater viewing area that Mr.Tiger has surely never set one tiny part of his paw in. But by all means, keep pleasing P.E.T.A., but in 10 years when every zoo animal has an enclosure that looks just like Kenya, the ailses of the zoo will be a ghost town. And then they'll have to close all their doors and send all the animals to the circus and the glue factory. Mr.Tiger will be SO happy jumping through hoops of fire, I'm sure. In the meantime, I'll just point out yet another furry blob in the darkest corner of the enclosure and try to convince my child it is a real animal, just a different color than the last furry blob.

5) There are no plastic lids or straws allowed at the zoo. ARE THEY KIDDING ME??? The zoo is a place for CHILDREN. Children need lids and straws. I'm sorry. So the animals might choke on a straw. But I paid $28 for that zoo t-shirt and I don't want it covered in Hawaiin Punch 3.5 seconds after giving my child a lidless drink. Come on, zoos. Have some pity on my kids' overpriced clothing!

6) There are no escalators or moving walk-ways. There is a lot of walking at the zoo. And honestly, I would appreciate a little help getting around. In fact, a tram through the zoo, or something like those jeeps on Jurassic park, would be a great improvement on the whole zoo experience.

In conclusion, let me just say that I really do like animals. But if they're going to lay around being lazy, and stay in dark corners, and not make a single sound all day, and if the zoo staff is going to make me eat $12 chicken nuggets with $4 lidless drinks, I think I'll just stay home. There's always the Discovery Channel, right?


Kristina P. said...

I like the zoo, but this is also coming from a kidless person. I agree that it seems like a lot of work if you have kids who can't walk.

Financial Aid for College said...

What! No photos? Not even Daphne's finger tip, which she held over the lens on ever picture she screamed to take? (At least I got my daily exercise done)

Accompanying Zoo Grandma

heidi said...

i can only handle that equation at my own house. i don't want to pay extra for it.
no thanks.

Sher said...

Amen! Not to mention that whole place STINKS! I do my obligatory once a year trip to the zoo, but that's about all I can handle.

Hildie said...

Oh, I forgot about the lack of straws and lids! That's the worst!

CaraDee said...

Dude, the reptile building?? STINKS. Like gagging.

I bought a year zoo pass last year. Technically, it was worth it, because I told them I had 3 kids, plus I get an extra adult in free. So I could take relatives and save them some money. We went 3 times I think. HORRIBLE. I think we'll go once in April before it expires.

When I was a teen, I remember the old tiger habitat, which was pretty lame, and I saw one tiger trying to get it on with a female and she was pissed! That was a good zoo memory. But yeah, HOT HOT HOT.

Shawn said...

What? No Lids or straws? Despicable! And is it me or do the animals seem very lethargic in zoos nowaday? Are they drugging them or something?

Just SO said...

No lids or straws?? I had no idea! But then we always take our lunches because I refuse to pay $12 for chicken nuggets.

I don't mind going when it's not crowed.

Erica said...

I like our polar bear exhibit.

mCat said...

Hehe, you said Tiger and glue factory in the same paragraph!!

Ohmgirl a zoo hater? Say it isn't so, I freakin LOVE the zoo!

Christie said...

LOL - we went to the zoo on saturday, and I left there with the biggest tension headache from yelling at my kids. It was supposed to be a fun day, and it ended up being a total literal headache. I'd like to say that I'm going to boycott the zoo like you, but I know that I'll forget I hate it, and end up back there in just a few months. My kids LOVE it.

tiburon said...

See I freaking LOVE the zoo!

Ben Davis said...

your zoo must suck. The zoo out here in Portland is pretty nice. Realistic environments are surrounded by multiple viewing points so you can see the animals among the natural landscape. The underwater animals are always around to see and the orangutans usually hang out at the windows.

There's wide paths for strollers, and even a train you can ride around to see some of the exhibits.

You can bring your own food, and there aren't any rules about straws or drinks or lids. They even have a big grassy area where kids can play after your picnic.

And, best of all, it's in the pacific northwest, so you don't fry, even on a 60 degree day.

Granted, some of the animals still stink. But it's worth it, especially the bats which stink extra lots.

How else are your kids suppposed to develop a love for animals they might not ever see otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Jen and Mason love the zoo and I don't. Usually they go when I am at work or something. My biggest complaint is that all of your arguments (and Sher's smelly one) never change - you go to the zoo and it's the same thing every time. The animals are always lazy, you always walk your butt off for nothing, etc. Why do that to yourself over and over and over when you know exactly what to expect?