My wife and I took our four-year-old grandson to the Jacksonville, Florida zoo today. It was a gorgeous day, with blue skies, in the 70s, nice breeze.
We have a family membership and have been there many times. Last night I predicted how the visit would go.
- First, we stop to look at the flamingos and comment on how stinky they are.
- As we walk through the African loop, we will look at the warthogs and also comment on how stinky they are.
- We will look in vain for the cheetahs, see the ostrich, and then the rhinos.
- After a quick pass through the snake house, we will pause to visit the elephants.
- From there we’ll pass by the lions.
- Next, we’ll go to the giraffe overlook and feed them a few branches.
- Doubling back just a little, we’ll look to see how many manatees are in the recovery tank.
- Back on the main drag, my grandson will point out the Kona Ice truck, just in case we had forgotten about it.
- We’ll swing through the path that takes us by the bonobos and gorillas.
- Next is the carousel. We’ll go on several rides with our enhanced experience wristbands.
- After lunch, we’ll walk to the far end of the zoo to see the Komodo dragon and the tigers.
- The train will take us back to the front of the park, and we’ll cover a cup of Kona Ice with every flavor of syrup.
I was spot on for everything except the dragon and tigers. We decided not to go all the way back there today.
“Well,” you might ask, “was there anything new at the zoo?”
Absolutely. No two trips are alike.
- The elephants were standing much closer than they usually do, giving us a great view.
- Most of the giraffes were a little standoffish, but one came over and my grandson and I got to feed her. No line at the giraffes, so we had several opportunities each. She was so close we could have reached right out and touched her. But that’s one of the things you cannot do.
- One of the lionesses was relaxing in the sun on a huge rock just a few yards from the viewing area. She was beautiful.
- One of the rhinos was very close to the raised walkway, too. They are usually all the way across the field from us.
- On the way to see the manatees, the bald eagle was on the ground just on the other side of the fence. Probably the closest I’ve ever been to one.
- We got to see Kevin, the two-year-old baby gorilla up close against the glass.
- All the snakes in the snake house were out and visible. Usually many of them are hiding in the rocks.
So while the day was predictable, it was also an adventure. For me, zoos always are.