There are advantages to going places by yourself. You can set your own time limits, do what you want, and go home when you don’t want to be there anymore. You can’t do that when you are with other people. Well, I guess you could, but I am thinking your circle of friends would get a little smaller each time you brought down your gavel.
Ever since I visited the Bronx Zoo in April while visting my daughter in the Big Apple, I have been on a zoo kick. I hadn’t been to a zoo in years and really didn’t think much of them. I almost cried the last time I saw a dolphin in a very small swimming area. I did cry when that nut case let out all of his zoo animals before he took his own life. All of those animals had to be killed. It broke my heart. So, no, zoos weren’t high up on my bucket list. But they are now.
I fell in love with the Bronx Zoo and had a blast taking pictures of the animals with my new camera that has a zoom lens. I had fun.
I just can’t take pictures, though. If it doesn’t make me laugh, I really don’t stay with anything. I found humor in my next subject: my daughter. I wanted to take a break and she plopped down on a caterpillar seat of some sort that other women were sitting on. So, I laughed and motioned for her to move over like she was with the people.
The girl next to her thought she was hogging the caterpillar or something.
I think she thought Alex was too perky or maybe invaded her personal space. She was not a happy zoo attendee.
She left. And that’s how you get the caterpillar all to yourself for a picture.
Well, it’s been a few months since I visited the Bronx Zoo. If I wanted to visit all of the zoos in the United States, like I wrote on my Bucket List on Pinterest, I thought I’d better get a move on. So, I headed up to the Pittsburgh Zoo. I went by myself. It is a 2 hour drive and I just wanted to do something by myself. Thank God, because I got good photos only because I acted like a loon.
I hadn’t been to the Pittsburgh Zoo since my children were little. I was looking for a nice quiet day, strolling through the zoo, taking an occasional picture of a cool animal. Well, I was surprised how close we were able to get to the animals. Oh sure, some had the foggy glass that separated us, but some were open and close, especially with my zoom lens….and my mouth.
People were taking pictures of a lion and were making clicking noises for the animal to look their way so they could snap a picture. I noticed this at every exhibit. The animals weren’t buying into this bullshit. We were close enough that the animals could hear us, so why make stupid clicking noises. So, I started talking to them.
First up was the lion. I didn’t have to talk too loud. She heard me. “Aw, look how pretty you are.” She perked up and I snapped her picture.
Notice she has a “what the hell was that?” look. I decided that clicking noises were bad, and sweet talking was good. Now, if someone would have been with me, I wouldn’t have said a word. Oh, shit, that’s a lie. I found something that worked. So, I was off to the next exhibit. The elephants were hanging out near the stream across from the viewing area. If I had peanuts or a beer can to throw at them, I could have hit them. That’s how close they were. Time for me to sweet talk the baby elephant.
The first time I yelled over, “Aw, look how pretty you are,” the woman beside me looked at me like I had lost my mind. I didn’t care. The elephant heard me and looked right over. I got a good shot and someone standing behind me said, “Nice shot.” Well, the elephant kept staring at me, so I started talking a bit more and added a “Just look at how pretty you are.” The elephant walked to the water’s edge across from me and started moving its trunk back and forth and flapping its ears. I heard cameras snapping. I realized the lady was now filming the elephant and now had my lovely voice recorded on her camera. I talked a bit more and then the elephant ran back when the zookeepers appeared with food. Time to move on.
I was starting to feel a little cocky because I now realized that I was like a Dr. Doolittle. I could talk to the zoo animals. I was able to tame all the critters that came to my back porch. I tamed a skunk to walk a few steps into my kitchen to get a peanut. I had a squirrel that would knock on my french door for a peanut. I had six turkeys actually run to me when I opened the door and yelled, “Hey, you guys!” like the creature on the Goonies. Yes, I knew I had a way with backyard critters. But, zoo animals. I would have to hit a couple more exhibits before I could put that crown on my head.
I could not believe my eyes when I went to the next exhibit. Gorilla land. They were right in front of us. There was no window. There was a canyon-like separation and that was all. They were so close. My zoom found the old man first. I wasn’t talking yet.
This guy creeped me out a bit. He started staring at me after I took this picture. Sure, there were other peopel squeezed in beside me, but I have 7 pictures of him and I swear he is looking at me. I decided to start talking. I immediately got a response.
He turned around and looked at me. “Yes, you. Look how pretty you are.” I started snapping pictures. Some guy behind me told me to keep talking. Oh, sir, you have just created a monster. I was being egged on. Ok, sure. You have no idea who the hell I am and you will never see me again. So,I started talking to the gorillas.
After taking a bunch of pictures of this guy, he looked at his gorilla friend like he was saying, “Is she talkin’ to me. You talkin to me? What fun. Well, after I heard a couple people now yelling out at the gorillas, I decided that my time with the big guys was drawing to a close. I moved on and talked to the other animals. Two broke my heart. The bear looked at me like, “Please get me the hell out of here.”
A black bear doesn’t live on rocks. The poor thing had no grass or trees to rub his back. They threw him a chew toy and that was about it. He wanted to go home with me, I’m sure of it. There weren’t many people at this exhibit, so I talked to the bear for a long time. We bonded.
My last picture was of an African painted dog of I don’t know where. I’m assuming Africa. I didn’t know. I just know there were a pack of them sleeping. So, I didn’t want to wake them up. One was looking at me. I smiled and waved. I’m sure I looked like a loon. I laughed at myself. Did I expect a head nod or a wave of his paw? I have no idea. But, I got one shot before I left. I was leaning over so far to get a good picture, I thought how easy it would be to fall. That would not have been good.
I was happy with my pictures and thought that I would share some of them with you. I hope to head to the Cincinnati or Columbus Zoo next. That may not be until next summer. But,in the end, I was happy that I acted like a loon. Sometimes you have to go out of your comfort zone to get a response. I am beginning to think that I am quite comfortable with acting like I’ve lost my marbles.
After all, they will never see me again, right?
Wrong. I saw the guy at Walmart in my hometown just yesterday.