Sunday, April 7, 2013

Feeding the giraffes


and we went to Colorado Springs. For about four hours. A staycation in miniature. Or a "My parents both work so all I got for spring break was this measly trip to a zoo in another city" T shirt.

Truth be told, though, it was kind of dreamy. Colorado Springs is only an hour away, but it has a totally different feel. Very Spanish, very Old-New-Mexico. M. had to work, so the kids and I took a little trip by ourselves. We went to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, which is, in fact, just another zoo - and I am ambivalent about zoos - and yet it is a smaller and much more personal-feeling zoo than the Big City Denver Zoo. For one thing, they have pony rides:

Helen waited 30 minutes for the chance to ride a horse. I need to find her some riding lessons.
For another thing, they have a giraffe feeding station. This is the kind of thing that seems both cheesy and probably exploitative and yet is undeniably amazing when you're actually there in the sun with your hands full of lettuce. I am a fierce believer in the importance of keeping wild things wild and respecting their wildness, and lord knows that every animal on the planet, or most of them, would be vastly better off if we just disappeared - and yet we humans have this craving to be close to animals that bears listening to.

This photo does not do justice to the tongue of the giraffe, which is a thing of glory.
Helen was beyond thrilled to be this close to the giraffes.
Even if she needed a little help from an exasperated older brother to bring herself to feed them.
The rest of the zoo was filled with touches like this. The lizard house felt like an actual house, with lizards in aquariums on shelves, in large decorative hurricane lamps, in cages with concrete sofas and chairs, in cages with bright blue swimming pools in them. The grizzly bear pen was huge. The elephant pen was huge and better than the brand new Denver Zoo elephant pen (at least to someone who doesn't know anything about zoos). They had lots of porcupines, and naked mole rats, and stairs. It was very pleasant, and it also had spectacular views out east over the city. I asked the kids to pose for a picture celebrating our day of family togetherness:

Just plucked off the orphan train, awaiting a new grim life as indentured servants.

The next day we went to the Mammoth & Mastodon exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, which, despite Si's tearful predictions of mind-numbing boredom (he was not referring to this particular exhibit but museums in general, as opposed to zoos, or, you know, Elitches), was actually quite spectacular (life size realistic models of a wooly mammoth, a giant bear, and a saber-toothed tiger, to start).

And then, baseball. Tournament season has begun.

1 comment:

Alien in CH said...

I love the "family togetherness" picture of Si and Helen. Your blog reminded me of the first time Johanna saw a giraffe. She was about two, and she practically exploded with excitement.