I'm going to the zoo today, with my two daughters, and two cameras, and a lot of memories.
I know it's not cool to admit it in some circles, but I love going to zoos. It's not that I love the fact that animals that should be in the wild are in cages. I really don't. But zoos have been around since people started traveling and collecting animals from faraway places, and I can't imagine they'll ever go away.
What I love is the same reason people make zoos. Odds are, I won't be going anywhere near a tiger in the wild any time soon. Probably a good thing, since tigers in the wild tend to not be terribly fond of human visitors -- except for lunch. But at the zoo, I can see a tiger --- this magnificent creature God created. The inspiration for Blake's "Tyger, tyger, burning bright." For a moment, I can share in his vision, as I watch these graceful animals, focusing on their strength and beauty. For a moment, I can be there with them.
I've been going to zoos for as long as I can remember. Philadelphia, the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo. Zoos in St. Louis, Missouri, Denver, Colorado, and Los Angeles, California. And of course, the amazing San Diego Zoo. Wherever we traveled, my parents would find a zoo. Somewhere I have a box with souvenirs from my visits...a wax gorilla, a giant pencil, a bag that once held jacks, a few of those postcard albums I could bear to take apart and send.
But mostly I have good memories. I have not been to Metro Zoo since my now 10 year old was about 2. We were looking at the pictures the other day, and she started talking about what she remembers. And about the zoos we have been to since then.
So political correctness be darned, and my fellow PETA members can gasp in horror. We are going to the zoo!