Tuesday, July 21, 2009


A couple of weeks ago, Liam and I drove out to Tulsa to check out the zoo. It was a hot day, but Liam was just fine in his sunhat and new favorite munchy.

I've mentioned before that I have high expectations when it comes to zoos. Let's just say this one was a disappointment.
The majority of the enclosures were in these formidable-looking buildings. All of which had two sets of double doors one after the other for the entrance and exit. All of which had automatic buttons to push. None of which worked. Going from building to building with a stroller was tricky.
If you look closely at the door on the right, you'll see a no-firearms sign. Do we really need to be told not to carry guns into the zoo? Really? We are definitely in Oklahoma...
The buildings covered several geographic regions: Southwestern Desert, Arctic Tundra, Eastern Forests, Lowlands (under construction), and Rainforests. Most of these buildings were in sad disrepair. There were holes in the walls, peeling paint, bowing trim work, and the Eastern Forest smelled overwhelmingly like B.O. Most of the enclosures were pathetically small. I almost cried when I saw the bald eagle sitting on the ground in his cage, panting from the heat exactly like our chickens.

But there were some pleasant surprises.

The Rainforest building, the largest of the group, was my favorite part of the entire zoo. Rather than displaying the animals in cage after cage, much of it was a large open atrium divided by tunnels of rocks, trees, and vines which directed the crowd through the exhibits. But the best part was the zoo keepers, who mingled with the guests, walking around and striking up conversations about whatever we were looking at. They didn't recite a script or stand in one place to point out key features. It was really cool.

And then there were the funny zookeeper notes. Like this one.
reads: I'm not stuck. I like to play and relax in the moat. When ready, I'll climb back out.

Liam and I both had fun in the petting zoo. These goats were definitely friendly.
I didn't realize that Liam still had his apple core in his hand until we were in with the animals. I took it from him and kept it discretely in the palm of my hand. It didn't take long for the goats to figure this out.
They all wanted that apple core. The zookeeper noticed all the commotion and came over to scold me. I gave him the apple to throw away, gesturing meekly at Liam. How embarrassing.
Liam's favorite part of our day was the playground. There were all kinds of play structures, but his favorite was this boardwalk. He walked back and forth, back and forth, back and forth...
He eventually tried some of the other play areas and liked them, too.
We made the drive to Tulsa again today, this time to visit the Oklahoma Aquarium. Liam had a blast. We went through the entire thing with me holding him up to look in the tanks. He was very serious abut examining what was inside each one. And then I let him get down and run around. This made him very excited. He walked all oer the place. Peeking up at the tanks, saying hi to anyone and everyone, going in circles. He walked around for at least 45 minutes (He is getting really good at walking now). I was too busy chasing him to take very many pictures, but here is one I managed to squeeze in.

This boy likes fish.


  1. holy cow! He looks so much like his dad in the picture where he's peering out from behind that red wall!

  2. Zoos rely on donations to run, admission alone is never enough. If you are interested in improving a nearby zoo there are lots of ways to support them without using your wallet. My grandparents were a huge part (still are) of the sd zoo. They donate, help out at the fundraiser events, and are even on the wall of benefactors as you leave the zoo. Even in the planning and set up of fundraisers you are supporting a zoo. My favorite zoo event is the critters event. All the restaurants purchase a booth and give out tastes of their best food, wine, desserts. There is a ticket cost, the more you pay the sooner you can go in and start tasting and the free glass of champagne is nice too. There is also a silent auction of items that have been donated (for the write off and the advertising). That is one of the big reasons we can be zoo snobs ;) Glad Liam gets to go seen so many animals!