Is it worth it? Going to the zoo on a cold rainy day in the dead of winter wearing a mask, wearing a baby and trying to reason with a four year old? You may have also found yourself asking this question. On a day much like today’s cold blustery day, I certainly was.
On the short drive to the Woodland Park Zoo, after a full-on melt down had subsided, Lake proclaimed he is going to be a zookeeper when he grows up. Not a veterinarian, a zookeeper. So I promised we’d ask about their volunteer program when we arrive. They accept applications in January and the minimum age is 16. We filed that information away in our minds for future reference. In the meantime Lake has eleven years of practice on our own in-house petting zoo (comprised of Mr. Cat, Mr. Silky and Missy) to focus on.
Even on the coldest, darkest, rainiest days, the zoo never fails to reveal at least a few unexpected gems. The reward for our effort comes during that surprise moment an animal connects with us. An acknowledging nod by the orangutan to Lady Kitty. A hippopotamus yawning, the gaping jaws opening wider and wider like a cobra, Lady Kitty waving goodbye to the Malayan tiger.
Finally, there is the sweet confidence that comes from executing a planned adventure. Even as a pre-schooler, Lake is rich (and gaining) in self-awareness: “We made the zoo happen,” he said afterwards, with confidence and a measure of pride. There’s a capable kid that will be able to take himeself and his kids through the cold rainsorms of life. So in short, yes, it’s worth it.
A perfect day. I’m glad I spent it with you, Lake and Lady Kitty. We made the zoo happen.