Wednesday, August 08, 2007


I took Monday off of work so that Tony and I could go to the zoo, the Lincoln Park (free) Zoo to be exact. We haven’t been in a long time and zoo trips are one of our favorite things to do. Our first date was actually a picnic at and a walk through the zoo. There is something about animals that just makes the day brighter.

Every time I go to the zoo I get pushed by small children. I don’t stand right up next to the glass because even though I am incredibly short I am usually taller than the children running around the zoo. I think that by standing a little back from the glass I give them a chance to get close and see the action. They don’t seem to appreciate my courtesy. Instead, they push me aside. Why they would push me to the side when there is a perfectly good space right in front of me I may never figure out. I hate kids at the zoo.

Being a Monday, the zoo was slightly less crowded than our usual weekend trips. This was a good thing. There were far fewer children to push me. Being 90 degrees, the animals were all sleeping. That was a little disappointing. Regardless, I had some new zoo experiences.

New Experience #1: The Barn
We had heard there was a petting zoo and were very excited to be able to get there early enough to go to it. The thing was that as we walked around the barn area we saw no opportunities to pet animals. There was a mama pig with piglets scrambling for a teat but no way to pet them. There were cows with big eyes and wet noses but no way to pet them. There were sheep; wooly and sedate but still, no way to pet them. Then we came upon goats. There was a lady in the pen with them as well as some small children. Hooray!!! We could pet goats. We stood in line and asked if we could go in even though we were grown-ups. The lady said of course. We were only allowed to pet on the back and sides of the goat, not the head. It was fine. We would have preferred to feed the goats but that wasn’t an option. We washed our hands and head out.

New Experience #2: The Polar Bear
I have been to the zoo many many times. I have never seen the Polar Bear. I had come to believe that the Polar Bear probably didn’t exist. The only proof I had was the bear shaped footprints in the grime at the bottom of the bear pool. Those could have easily been placed with a fake paw. However, as we rounded the corner I spotted it. A big white bear splayed across the rocks, apparently fast asleep. I didn’t care that it was sleeping. I knew it existed. I was also entertained by this interaction

Lady 1: Look a big white bear
Lady 2: It’s supposed to be black though
Lady 1: Really?
Lady 2: Yeah, the bear is black. It’s just his fur that is white.
Me and Tony: Awesome

New Experience #3: The Red Panda
I was very excited about the new Red Panda (which isn’t really a bear at all) that the zoo recently acquired. They are easily one of the most perfect looking animals around. They couldn’t get much cuter. I knew it was supposed to be by the cats but we couldn’t find it. Then, we went around the back of the cathouse. We found the cage marked “Red Panda”. We didn’t see the thing. That’s ok though. It will be like my new Polar Bear. I’ll have to go back to the zoo over and over again and try to get a glimpse of him. When I do spot him, I will do all in my power to take him home. For now I, like you, will have to be satisfied with a picture.

1. You snake/ You crawled/ Between my legs/ Said want it all/ It’s yours you bet.

2. Who loves the sun/ Who cares that it makes plants grow/ Who cares what it does since you broke my heart. Who Loves The Sun, The Velvet Underground. Identified by Monica.

3. I am just a new boy/ Stranger in this town/ Where are all the good times/ Who’s going to show this stranger around

4. And I tell you everything/ And hope that you won’t tell on me/ Not give you anything/ And know that you won’t tell on me

5. Well there’s a light in your eye that keeps shining/ Like a star that can’t wait for the night/ I hate to think I’ve been blinded, Baby. Why can’t I see you tonight?


Blog Antagonist said...

I really wish we had gone to the Zoo when we were there. We went to the farmer's market...I don't know why we didn't go. I'll make a point to go next time.

Lakeiya said...

the thing about the polar bear is my new favorite thing. and according to wikipedia, the fur is actually hollow and translucent but it appears white or cream, providing good camouflage.

i'm glad you guys enjoyed the zoo.

Monica said...

Awww.... look at the little guy!

#2 Who Loves the Sun - Velvet Underground
I remember when that was my theme song. Also, when Cheryl and I were driving to Canada we listened to it eactly 4,000 times ;)

Lizza said...

That red panda is awfully cute, and the conversation you overheard was terrific!

janeylynne said...

Natalie, trust me when I say you don't WANT to pet a sow with piglets. I don't understand why they'd let people pet them. Sows who've had piglets can be EXTREMELY aggressive and actually bite quite viciously. Take it from a Kansan whose grandparents and uncle both had pigs. ;p

Natalie said...

BA- The zoo is great fun but not having gone gives you yet another reason to come back. Granted, it isn't as extravagant as some of the not free zoos I have been to but it does a good job.

Lakeiya- You are the worlds biggest nerd for going on wikipedia to look up polar bear fur. That is yet another reason why I will miss you so.

Monica- Isn't he just adorable. He eats bamboo and sometimes stands on his hind legs. AAAWWW!!! you really counted 4000 times? Nerds.

Lizza- Sometimes people just say the darndest things.

Janeylynne- For some reason that doesn't surprise me but those piglets were just so precious trying to eat.

CSG said...

I do love animals, and I guess that is the reason I don't like zoos. I feel so sorry for them in those cages, however big they are. Still, it's a great experience to see them live.

deadspot said...

Polar bears are covered with fiber optics for passive solar heating. Their fur channels the available light down to their skin so that they get as much heat as possible from the light that's available. In this way, the bear is heated from under its coat of insulating fur (which then traps the heat) instead of trying to heat the bear through its insulation. Polar bears are awesome.

Knowledge is power!

Oops. Lakeiya beat me to it. She has knowledge and speed.

Ummm... Hey look! A baby polar bear!

Eve said...

Yay the zoo! I love the seals and the polar bears at the LP zoo. And the great ape house, and the big cats! But the polar bears are great, with their pool and fake ice.

I'll tell you my favorite thing there: the conservatory. Seriously. It smells so good, is free, and is hot and lush (which is great during the winter.)

CS said...

Whenever I go to a petting zoo, I get bitten by a llama or a goat. Not hard enough to break the skin, but still. Were you thinking the polar bear hoax was by the moon landing fakers?

Natalie said...

CSG- I went through a phase where zoos bothered me but then I decided that I just liked to see them and forgot about it.

Deadspot- Actually you provided much more detailed information than Lakeiya so it is ok.

Eve- sadly I have never been to the conservatory. We planned to go bu Tony got a blister and he had been keeping his mouth shut so I could enjoy the zoo so once I found out I just wanted to get him home.

CS- No, those people totally landed on the moon. It's just when you see an empty habitat at least ten times you start to wonder.

Lee said...

Cool! I love going to the zoo. Cincinnati has a really neat zoo (probably one of the only things i really miss about that place). I love those cute little red pandas, and polar bears (when they're active) are fun to watch. Does your zoo have otters? They're my favorite!

Johnny Yen said...

My family lived in Lincoln Park from 1964 to 1968, and my father would take my two brothers and I there a lot of Sundays (to give my mother a break from us, as I found out). I know the Brookfield Zoo is bigger and has better exhibits, but I love the Lincoln Park Zoo.

Sometimes in winter, I'll go must to sit in the conservatory. LIke Eve mentioned, I just sit and soak up the heat and the smells. It's like finding a tropical rainforest in the middle of winter.

NSGS said...

Hi Natalie,

It is your aunt. I just read your entry about your trip to the zoo and am really excited. I never knew you were a zoo person!! I am too! In early May I had lamented to Zach that I hadn't been to the MN Zoo in a long time, so for Mother's Day, he took me to the zoo (well sort of, he paid for me and I paid for him). It was fun and recently we all went as they had redone the MN Trail and I especially wanted to see it. Anyway, sometime we will just have to do a zoo trip together! I also think it is great that Tony likes zoos. I, too, always enjoyed the Lincoln Park Zoo and thought it was really terrific that a city as big as Chicago had a free zoo. I always like the gorillas there.