Matt Damon had a great idea. Because, really, buying a zoo is only a step up from having kids. So, why not buy a zoo? Ok, we didn’t really buy a zoo. We just bought tickets to the zoo, but it was probably even better than buying a zoo. All of the intimacy without all of the obligation. But if I were going to buy a zoo, this is the one I would buy. As they say in Ecuador, it was muy chevre (or, the less-impressive-sounding-English-equivalent, very cool)!
Check out these paths. Would you ever guess they were the paths in a zoo? I certainly wouldn’t have. More like trekking through the jungle. At one point we actually convinced our 11 year old that we were walking through the lion enclosure. I even freaked myself out for a bit there. Never has rustling grass seemed so ominous…
Chuffing mountain lion, and chuffing children
In most cases, you can get right up close to the animals. No concrete and heavy metal bars. Mostly just chicken wire, wooden railings, and chain link fence. There was also some occasional electric fencing, but it wasn’t turned on (This was verified personally by one of my children. Smart.). Standing 2 feet away from a feeding lion, with merely a wisp of wire between us and certain death, certainly added an element of danger to the visit!
As we got to each new enclosure there were assurances that this was definitely their favorite part. After a while, we would coax them away from one area, only to find that the next one was just as difficult to leave. It’s a pretty good problem to have.
Cloudy with a chance of papaya
We started our visit right around feeding time for some of the animals, including this bear. It was funny to watch him catch the food the zookeeper threw to him. Connor pointed out that the bear ate better than we do. I wonder what the bear would think if we threw him a bunch of empanadas, quesadillas, and hot dogs…
After leaving the bear, the kids quickly made friends with this deer. They were enthralled with letting the deer use their hands as a salt lick. When I reminded them they weren’t supposed to touch the animals, they retorted that the deer was touching them, not the other way around. As you’ll see later, the whole “touching rule” went totally out the window pretty quickly…
A quick succession of new favorites followed, each accompanied with cries of “nevermind, I want this as a pet!” The lineup included a stinky (but cute) pig, lumbering tortoises from the Galapagos, a parrot, and even a capybara.
Who knew giant rodents could be so cute?
If they thought that was great, I’m sure you can imagine the squeals of delight when we walked down a forest path and saw some of these guys swinging through the trees around us! I’m surprised none of the kids passed out from sheer joy.
The kids picked berries, and coaxed the monkeys to eat right from their hands. One even scampered across Connor’s arms.
Getting up close and personal with the spider monkeys
If that wasn’t awesome enough, we then were able to interact with some tamarin monkeys, who were extremely cuddly. They loved it when the kids scratched their heads or rubbed their fur. They look like a funny cross between a monkey and a kitten don’t you think? They definitely won the this-is-definitely-what-we-want-as-our-next-pet contest. I just smile and let them dream.
Like a cat, but better
For those who’d like a bit more of a zoo tour, here are a few more pictures and video clips just for fun!
These guys were one of the only animals the kids didn’t request as pets.
I wonder why…
Monkeys right at our fingertips
It’s all fun and games until someone loses a finger!
C’mon, after all that, don’t you wanna buy a zoo [ticket] too?