Sunday, April 5, 2009

A day at the zoo

Today we enjoyed a day at the Atlanta Zoo with Papa and Aunt Alicia. I hadn’t been since Will was about Owen’s age, and I was probably more excited to return than Will. I love watching animals.

On Will’s first trip to the zoo, when he was just shy of 2, he had been especially spooked by the gorillas. It didn’t help that a couple of the bigger ones had carried out a chest-thumping skirmish in front of us. For a while he even swore off zoos until he was 7 years old. He’s come around since of course, and enjoyed a zoo tour with my parents in Colorado this summer.
And today he tried to be brave about the gorillas. He was a tad nervous at first about joining me on the lap of Willie B., but I talked him into it.

And he tolerated a couple minutes of real gorilla viewing before retreating into his arm-shaking get-me-on-to-a-smaller-gentler-animal spooked dance.

Owen has inherited the gorilla jitters. He shouted “No!” when we tried to get him to join us on the gorilla statue, and he quickly decided that the live gorillas were even scarier. Maybe he picked up on Will’s fear – or maybe it’s just scary to look at an animal that so closely resembles our beastly selves.

This of course, is why the gorilla is my favorite zoo animal to watch. Today, while Owen and Will had been escorted to a tamer monkey-and-bird treehouse, I lingered a bit and watched a mama gorilla sit back and nurse her little one. And I watched a couple other gorillas, not much taller than Will and Owen, stand upright and engage in a wrestling match. It all looked so familiar.

Will’s favorite animals were the muntjac, a sort of dwarf version of a deer native to Southeast Asia (which looked refreshingly unintimidating to him after the gorilla exhibit), and the giant panda.

Even the pandas kind of spooked Owen, who preferred flamingos, elephants, giraffes and zebra – and the goats and sheep at the petting zoo most of all.

He also didn’t mind the lions. They were sleepy and regal on their rock, and it was fun to wear some lion ears.
Alicia thought so too.

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