Went to the Zoo!
It’s been a loooonnnngggg time since I last visited the Calgary Zoo. I thought about it and I have probably only been there a couple of times total in the last 15 or 20 years. The weather in Calgary has been just gorgeous during the month of March and I have been trying to come up with some excuse to get out of the gym, off the treadmill and get some extra fresh air. A trip to the zoo seemed like the perfect outing for the day so off I went.
Just entering the Zoo I was surprised to see how things had changed so much from how I remembered them way back when. On this day (probably all days) the stroller gangs had all assembled in mass. As they moved throughout the grounds they reminded me of tank batteries moving forward to take the next hill. The tanks/strollers were piloted almost exclusively by women who had apparently called each other ahead of time and suggested that they all wear their black Lululemon leggings, hoodies, oversized sun glasses and pony tails. It was hard to tell one mom from another and I wondered how the children knew?
Kids were everywhere and seemed to be all under age 5 and not in kindergarten or regular school. I was surprised to see how short everyone was. Much more so that when I was there as a kid, or so it seemed. They moved, almost at will, all around skipping from cage to cage. They only seemed to stop to eat something, pick something off the ground and try to eat it before their mother could wrestle it away from them. They only command that truly got their attention was the shouting of a code red (in kids’ lingo). ICE CREAM! Speaking of ice cream. Have you tried to get an actual twist cone (chocolate and vanilla soft serve swirled together) in Calgary? Well besides Costco I am happy to announce the Calgary Zoo still serves twist cones and yes, I did treat myself to one.
Just as you enter the Calgary Zoo you will find yourself by the entrance to the Penguin Plunge. This is a relatively new exhibit in Calgary and features numerous species of penguins in all different sizes and shapes. In spite of some obvious differences, the one thing they seemed to share in common was the love for water…. lots of it and very cold! The Penguins are truly a sight to see and so much fun to watch. I must have looked like a big kid to the other visitors around me. Jockeying for position by the glass moving stealthily into open spots before anyone else realized they were there. I even had several comedic conversations with some of the penguins coaxing them into the water before it was their turn and making squeaking noises trying to get their attention. I had a smile ear to ear I am sure. There was one species called a King Penguin and they were the most impressive. If they stood beside you their heads would come up to your waist. When they are on TV they never seem like they could be that tall. They were the coolest to watch and funny to see them line up and wait their turn to dive into the water. In some cases it was almost like they got impatient and would go around the one whose turn it was next. I couldn’t help but think of the old adage of “the blind leading the blind.” In this case the King leading the King! Over the years I worked with some Managers and Directors who followed blindly and could never say even if it meant diving head first into cold (hot actually) waters. Long live the King!
At some point, nature called and I found myself seeking a place to call my own (restroom). One thing I can say is that they were everywhere throughout the zoo. Every corner I went around there was another one open for business. The men’s washrooms were spotless inside and neat and tidy. No line-ups and no fuss….. the ladies on the other hand were like concert line-ups selling tickets to a U2 concert. The venue was already sold out and now had standing room only. It seemed, only stay at home moms visited the zoo during the week. But then again, it was Monday …hmmmm …maybe they all weren’t feeling well …?
I continued on with my afternoon, now that I was a little lighter, and started to wind myself in and out of the various habitats and displays. There were some Alpacas that seemed none to happy that I had interrupted their lunch and looked at me in the funniest ways. They almost had that same look as the old English sheep dog on the Bugs Bunny show that had to lift up the hair over his eyes so he could see the coyote that was stalking the sheep. Big brown furry faces full of life and priceless expressions.
Have you ever noticed how some of the cages at the zoo look like the cubicles you see in some offices? It was interesting and a bit sad all at the same time. Some of the animals looked as disinterested as some employees and not the least happy to be there. I am confident one can deduce that in many cases animal natures and human natures share the same feelings when it comes to living in this type of setting. Working in a cubicle farm from 40 to 60 (or more) hours per week is not a great existence. The guy on the left was none to pleased and, interestingly enough, the sign said for people not to stare at him or he could behave in an aggressive manner. This guy is called the Silverback (Alpha Male) and was very impressive! Peaceful and majestic but capable of tearing your head off if provoked. I had a boss like that too once….. or twice….. or, forget about it.
Well I ended up having a great day and ended up heading out later in the afternoon. I visited as many exhibits as I could get to and that were open. It seems in the early spring many of the animals are not as active as they are in the warmer months, much like Calgarians in general I would say. I wondered why I still had to pay $23.00 and another $8.00 to park if I could only see 50% of the animals??? Maybe they need to have some cardboard cut-outs near the front of the zoo where people can snap pictures of if the live animals are not available? Just saying….
How could I visit the zoo and not stop in on the pink flamingos for a flash back to the 80’s Miami Vice or anytime Jimmy Buffett? They were out in full force and didn’t seemed deterred by the cooler temperatures and mild weather. Does hot pink equal hot when it comes to body temperature? Are flamingos symbolic of parrotheads or simply icing on the Margaritaville cake? All in all a great day – a great way to get some exercise and fresh air, get the step count up and just generally be happy not to be at work.
It truly was “Just another day at the Office!”