Yesterday we went to Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia for a quick Spring Break road trip. We had a fantastic time and the weather was picture perfect. Cool breezes and sunshine made up for the crowds and long lines.
There really was a lot of interesting exhibits, but I love the giraffes the most. Something about these creatures fascinates me - they are an interesting study in evolution. I chatted with the exhibit curator for a while in the back while others paid a few dollars to feed them leafy greens and pet their heads all while dodging their extremely long tongues! We talked mostly about their nature and personalities of the individual giraffes (apparently they are very kind and gentle, but not super bright animals overall).
As we strolled around the zoo, our group talked about how amazing it is that life takes on such unique forms and how these creatures all adapt to their surroundings. Elephants use their huge ears to cool off in the hot deserts of Africa. Sea anemone and the clown fish have a symbiotic relationship and protect each other. Long necks allow those giraffe to eat those top leaves on the trees so they don't go hungry out in the plains. It's really amazing what evolution produces if you think about it.
I normally hate zoos and aquariums and anything that exploits animals for our own personal entertainment or use. But, yesterday I was grateful I had the opportunity to see these creatures up close and personal. I will probably never have the chance again in my life to touch a giraffe. Or see an elephant that closely. And many of these animals have been born in captivity or would have otherwise perished at the hands of people who were far more irresponsible than the keepers at this zoo.
What about you? Do you hate zoos? Love them? What have you been up to this week?