Zoo trip rekindles interest in animals

My wife, the kids and I spent a full Sunday getting to know some wild animals. But we did it in a pretty controlled environment.

Young kids and wild animals are a great mix, as long as you keep ‘em separated. I’m not sure what the animals think about the kids, but the kids get pretty excited about the animals.

Actually, I bet I know exactly what some of the wild animals think about the kids, and that’s why you need to make sure the kids stay well out of reach of the critters.

My wife and I wanted to give our kids a closer look at some animals than we can safely do in the wild, so we took the boys down to the Denver Zoo. I realize that’s not an easy thing to do if you live in, say, Cody, but it would be worth the trip.

We got to the zoo right when it opened at 9 in the morning, and we spent most of the day watching the animals. We went straight through lunch and naptime, and the kids didn’t even seem to notice. That’s saying a lot, because usually, if we miss a meal or skip naps, we have a couple little grizzly bears of our own on our hands.

But not Sunday. The boys were way too interested in the animals to even think about getting grumpy.

The trip’s main purpose was to get the kids out of the house and do something different, but it also worked to pique their interest in wildlife. The Denver Zoo has plenty of the critters the boys have already gotten excited about, like lions, zebras, giraffes, and elephants. But it also has North American animals, like grizzlies, wolves, mallards, and Canada geese, as well as a bunch of other creatures Colby and Logan had never even heard of.

We can’t afford an African safari, so this was the best we could do. As it turns out, it was pretty good. We got to see an okapi, which was worth the price of admission all on its own. These are really cool critters. They look like a cross between a zebra and a giraffe.

I’d rather see these animals in their natural setting, but that’s not always possible. And I fear my boys are starting to take antelope and deer for granted. The zoo trip was a great change of pace. In fact, on the way home, Colby pointed out the antelope on the prairie. That’s the first time he’s done that in at least two years.


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