Inside This Contradiction Are The Animals

“All zoos, even the most enlightened, are built upon the idea both beguiling and repellent—the notion that we can seek out the wildness of the world and behold its beauty, but that we must first contain that wildness. Zoos argue that they are fighting for the conservation of the Earth, that they educate the public and provide refuge and support for vanishing species. And they are right. Animal-rights groups argue that zoos traffic in living creatures, exploiting them for financial gain and amusement. And they are right. Caught inside this contradiction are the animals themselves, and the humans charged with their well-being.”
― Thomas French, Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives

Never been a big fan of zoos.  Used to take my own growing up children to the Philadelphia Zoo. That was many years ago and I recall  a grim place of gray dungeons, bad smells, and too many people with children needing naps. I trust there have been huge changes there since my long ago visits.

My  recent visit to the San Diego Zoo in the US was quite the surprise. So clean, laid out to provide the animals more realistic habitats, didn’t smell bad at all, and there were many places for weary children and parents to take a shaded pause. A visit to the Denver Zoo in Colorado USA with the Grand Children  is a perfect day for. They love that Zoo so much they are Members. There are volunteers and staff  positioned strategically with a wealth of knowledge, enthusiasm for teaching, and patience. The Grands  will bring up details they have learned days after a zoo visit, and their interest has spilled over into a keen interest in the animals natural habitats and preservation of those habitats.

Since the  40 Amur Leopards, 60 Javan Rhinoceros, 80 Panthers, 100 Red Wolfs, 350 Asiatic Lions that are left on the planet are part of a very long list of endangered species, it is important to get our children passionate about protecting their planet and the fellow species on it. The Grands demonstrate to me a zoo can play a role in doing just that.  I wonder about the bigger picture, of there being habitat available for these creatures to roam free, of our right as humans to destroy those habitats, or even to cage creatures. Still, it was just a perfect day at the San Diego Zoo. and I actually eagerly anticipate the next time we  share the Denver Zoo with the Grands.

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  1. I have mix feelings about the zoo. I agree that zoo plays important role to introduce the animals to children and adult. I have seen a crappy zoo where the animals were treated badly and also good zoos where the animals treated well and look healthy. I guess the zoo should meet specific standard to ensure the animals treated well, spacious and happy with their environment to compensate the wildlife their deserved.

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  2. My dear wife Karen and I loved our visit to the San Diego Zoo a decade ago, JoHanna. This summer we took in the Denver Zoo, which was a close second. Both seemed to be a place where the designers, keepers and organizers treated the animals with respect.

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    1. Yes, I was so surprised in a good way how well both the zoos were designed and maintained. Did you by chance take in the Denver Science Center next door to the zoo? That is a truly stellar science museum. Another favorite to take the Grands to.

      Thanks for stopping by. All my best to you.


      1. No, after our trip to the zoo, we went to a Rockies game at Coors Field. It was a full day, then back to Estes Park to rejoin the rest of the 14 folks gathered for Karen’s Family Reunion. In fact, all of us ate a great dinner together at one table pushed together my magnficent folks at a Mexican restaurant. And, I’m happy I stopped by your place. 🙂

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  3. I have always loved Zoos! But there definitely are better ones than others. Am glad to say the Philadelphia Zoo has improved since you were there 🙂 Did you happen to see my post on Monday. It is called Monday’s Snapshot Memories. It has to do with the Philadelphia Zoo. :}

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  4. Loved this post! I can’t remember when I went to a zoo last. It would have been The Bronx Zoo, but I’m sure I was quite a youngster, then. Some wonderful thoughts you’ve passed along to us to munch on. And great song 🙂

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  5. Lovely photos. I completely agree with you about not being a fan of zoos for the same reason as you but it is pleasing to hear about SD Zoo – I lived in China and never set foot in any zoo especially the Beijing Zoo as I had heard bad things about the confinement and poor treatment of the animals. Our zoo in Canberra I had never been to for the same reason but did some research and ended up staying overnight with my family and it was wonderful – the animals are in large enclosures and well cared for. So I am very happy to share my visit (if you are interested)

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  6. I enjoyed this post, uour photos and the lovely, open way you respond to people. I feel the Cleveland, Ohio zoo is great because it is nestled in a parks system called “The Emerald Necklace.” The natural habitat integrates with the way they have walls and fences, less cages. I would love to go to the San Diego Zoo since it looks amazing. Our new African Safari is really nice with acres for giraffes, zebras and gazelles, just to name a few enclosed behind a trench and wall, but a lot of roaming going on. 🙂

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    1. Thank you. Zoos really do seem to have stepped up their efforts to create more natural habitats for the animals. The Emerald Necklace sounds just enchanting! I am all about preserving our current park spaces and the creation of new ones. People need to be outside!


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