Monday, May 11, 2009

Brookfield Zoo: 5/10/09

We went to Brookfield Zoo yesterday, and it was, as always, a lovely time. We did get a couple of extra-special experiences, however!
One of the first places we stopped was the Fragile Kingdom, which houses the big cats. They were sleeping or absent, for the most part, and disappointed, we moved on. But, at the end of the day we headed back once more, and were rewarded for our diligence.
The male lion was playing with a plastic innertube when we arrived, and had it stuck on his head. Not exactly majestic, I know;) He dropped it then, and the lioness trotted over and took it, bringing it across the enclosure to play with it herself. He came over then and played with it too, and the crowd gathered, laughed and watched these huge animals behaving a little bit like house cats. Then came the real treat: the lion got up and went back to lay on an outcropping of rock, and he let forth a series of loud and impressive roars, the last of which I caught on camera. You've never heard a crowd go quiet so fast. Applause broke out then; we were all awestruck and amazed. In case we had been thinking of that lion as cute and cuddly, he remided us all who is truly king of the jungle.

"Dinosaurs Alive!" is the special exhibit this summer, and the life-size, animatronic dinosaurs were fairly cool. Yes, they didn't have much range of motion, but I still thought it was pretty amazing to see these creatures full-size, and with skin on their bones. They even had a few "zoo babies": a baby stegosaurus, and a baby t-rex! I have to say, my favorites were the triceratops and the huge apatosaur at the Roosevelt fountain; you don't really understand the true scale of these things until you're standing right next to them, and considering how quickly you would lose the survival game if it was you against them!

Then, of course, there are the wolves. I always spend the most time in front of the fence at the Regenstein Wolf Woods, watching them. It's no secret that wolves are amoung my favorites in the animal kingdom: their intelligence, complex social structure, and fierce loyalty and sense of family are admirable and fascinating. They were unusually active yesterday too, and we got several pics of them as they passed very near to the fence where we were all watching, rapt.

All in all, the day was pretty incredible. We try to visit Brookfield at least once a year, and it would be hard to top this year's experience!

No comments: