Today Bean and I went to the Denver Zoo with my Aunt and my (much) younger cousin. It had been a long time since I last gone to a zoo, it was Bean's first time going to any zoo ever, and my first time going to the Denver Zoo. We woke up early to make the drive down to Denver and get to the zoo when it opened. The weather was a bit warm, but the breeze was cool.
She's pointing at the Hyenas
Hyenas are bigger than I thought!
She seemed to be pretty excited to see the animals, at least the ones that she could spot (I never realized how hard it was to explain to someone WHERE to look when that person doesn't yet understand above/below/right/left directions), but really I think she was most excited to eat snacks and tweet at the little finches that were hopping all along the walkways. haha.
She neighed at the Zebras
She was really excited about this leopard, laughing and squealing when it walked by.
These tigers were play fighting in the water, it was so cool!
Bean kept 'WOW'ing at the giraffes.
This little monkey looked like a little old man with his fu-man-chu
There were some African drums set up for kids to play by the African animal exhibits, and while all the kids were LOUDLY banging on the drums my girl wanted to stand with them, hug them and kiss them. The drums, not the other kids.
The animals that affected me the most were the apes. Every time I've ever gone to a zoo the gorillas, orangutans and chimpanzees make me a bit emotional. Their eyes are so soulful. Their expressions are so human-like. They're such intelligent animals it makes me sad to imagine what they're thinking about as they look out the glass walls of their enclosures.
Obviously, they don't comprehend human emotions, but they've got to be bored. In the wild they're constantly exploring, learning, moving, thinking in order to survive. Not in zoos. They sit, they might play with the plastic balls or swing on the fire-hose ropes, but it's not the same. I can't help but feel bad for them.
Bean thought they were neat, especially because they were right up against the glass so I could get her right up to them.
It took about 3 hours to see all the animals. The Denver Zoo is a really nice zoo, I was pleasantly surprised. My girl walked the majority of the time and didn't have any meltdowns - I was impressed! By the end of our time there I could tell she was getting worn out. She was rosy cheeked from the heat, hungry for lunch and it was her naptime, but again - no meltdowns, so it was an enjoyable outing!
I have a love-hate relationship with zoos. I love love love the animals and love love love that I get to see them in real life (as opposed to on TV), but I hate that they're in captivity. I try to remind myself that reputable zoos are doing important research and making a difference in the lives of endangered animals by having breeding and re-release programs.
We had a nice time today and I hope to go back again when Bean Girl is older. She looooooooooooves animals and really did have fun 'talking' to the animals over the fences. :)