Tourist Tuesday: Bronx Zoo

26 Feb

2013-02-26 11.49.27 I’ve become close friends with one of my co-workers, Adriana. We both have Tuesdays off, and since it is rare to have other friends who likewise have that weekday off, we often spend it together.

Tragically, there is a Tuesday shift that needs to be covered until June. Adriana and I have decided to take turns covering the shifts so that neither of us get overwhelmed with overtime. So this Tuesday was to be our last Tuesday together for a while. So we felt it was only fitting to spend it together at the Bronx zoo.

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I got so close to this little guy! Arm’s length away. Then I was frozen with fear, because birds are tiny dinosaurs.

The Bronx zoo is the largest metropolitan zoo in the world! Also, compared to other zoos I have visited, they are active in conservation education. A little bit too active some might say. There were some signs that were a bit harsh for a kid friendly place. Like the photo of a gorilla’s head bloodily on a plate. Whoa! Or the Vietnam War Memorial-esque tribute to extinct species. A little depressing, but the argument can be made that the ecological state of our world is likewise depressing, and perhaps children should be made aware of that as soon as possible. A good dose of reality never hurt anyone. Except when you tell a young child that Santa isn’t real. That’s just not nice. Isn’t it similarly cruel to show them gorilla decapitation?

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But the zoo is so beautiful. The exhibits are spacious, and the animals seem genuinely happy. I’ve never had a zoo experience where so many animals come close to the glass to say hello. Maybe it was because it was a quiet Tuesday, but I’d like to think that they somewhat enjoy their life in captivity. I mean plenty of their favorite foods available, no worries about predators, free healthcare, adoring crowds that squeal with delight whenever they move. Can I live in captivity?

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There was so much to see. I could have spent hours watching the gorillas. I wish I could have attended each and every sea lion feeding. So. Many. BIRDS! We walked into a beautiful building in the center of the zoo. As we entered, the smell of manure quickly hit us in the face. As we looked to our right, a rhino! Man, oh man, zoos are fun.

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But my favorites will always be the primates. They’re so human-like, so entertaining. By watching primates, there’s some sort of knowledge to be gathered about our own nature, our own instincts. At the exhibit with the above monkeys, we saw one of them start nodding her head up and down and run to a window at the side of the exhibit. When we went to the window, there was a man standing there, a zoo employee from Admissions. The monkey was gazing up at him.

“She seems to like you,” I said.
“I come here every day on my lunchbreak, and she always comes up to me…and does that.” The monkey turns around with her butt in the air, waving it back and forth.
“Aw,” Adriana says. “She’s presenting to you. She wants to mate with you!”
The monkey turns back around and gazes up to him, lifting her little monkey hand to the glass, black glassy eyes staring up at the mysterious man who visits her everyday. She turns back around, once again showing him her butt. I felt for her. I mean haven’t we all stuck our metaphorical butts in the air for someone who is simply, biologically not interested?

“Well, we’ll let you two have some privacy,” I said as we walked away. The man blushed, laughed, and returned his attention to his monkey friend.

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