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Archive for April 17th, 2006


April 17, 2006

Here’s a tip: if you decide to go to the zoo on a pleasant spring Saturday, first consider whether there might be a special event going on. Maybe you’d like to check those newsletters and e-mails the zoo sends you from time to time, or perhaps you could even go online and see what the website has to say, because if you just get in your car and go without planning ahead, you could find yourself in a traffic jam of families trying to get into the parking lot. Just like I did this past weekend, when there were more vehicles waiting to get in that there were than spaces in the parking deck, so a zoo employee asked me to put my little Focus in a no parking zone. Oooh, authorized rule-breaking. Yay.

As it turned out, all these people were trying to get in because the zoo was hosting Bunnyville. What exactly that meant besides a lot of people wearing paper rabbit ears I didn’t know, but since I was already there I decided I might as well get in the very long line and see. I passed on getting my own set of bunny ears, and once beyond the entrance gates, threaded my way through the gridlock of strollers and wagons and excited toddlers losing their minds over the fact that Elmo was standing right there. Bunnyville seemed to involve lots of different stations set up with candy and games and crafts and such to entertain the little ones. Good, that would siphon some of the crowd away from the animals.

I headed right for the polar bears. No luck on the tundra side of the exhibit, but I was delighted when I got to the viewing tunnel and found baby Talini swimming in the big pool on that side. According to the guide stationed there, Talini is up to 230 pounds now. I stayed and watched her in the water for a long time. She played with a big plastic spool, she bit at the water jet coming out of the wall, she sat on top of the tunnel, she got out of the pool and jumped right back in. After I finally tore myself away, I found mom Barle relaxing in the sun just at the side of the pool–she’d evidently been keeping an eye on her daughter from there.

After the polar bears, it was on to the snow monkeys and the wolverines–who were tearing apart what appeared to be a giraffe made from cardboard boxes–and the prairie dogs (all but one of which were hiding underground)–and the anteaters and of course the capybaras. I even got to see a capy take a swim. I was amused by the dad who called the capys “Teenage Mutant Ninja Hamsters”, not so much by the one who thought they were prairie dogs (but at least he was heading for the sign that would tell him different).

Since I’d seen all my favorite animals and I had other stuff to do, I decided to go. When I left, the traffic jam of cars trying to get in was even worse and the employees were having people park on the grass. Yikes–that’s a crowd. I was glad I’d happened to get there early.

More pictures start here.

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