Dinosaur model and a thrilled 5 year old

Thinking about a Zoo
I have always been a zoo lover. My mother has many stories of pushing me around in a stroller in zoos, and then taking my brother and me to zoos when we could walk on our own. I don’t think it’s coincidence that my brother has a PhD in biology, and that I am a Conservation photographer, with much of my photographic effort going toward showing wildlife and nature to people in ways they may not have thought about, or to remind people of the outdoor environment we share with other animals on this planet. My daughter is also a nature lover, and now my grandson is showing every sign of a similar bent. I approve.

Zoos have their place in all this – they can showcase things that otherwise would be either terribly expensive or even incredibly fortunate for people to see otherwise. They can showcase the wildlife in their contrived as it is natural habitat. They can enlighten people as to why saving our planet matters to more than just humans.

This past week, our family came down to Florida to visit us as we vacation down here, and we all went to the Brevard County zoo. It is a wonderful example of all that is good about zoos. Displays of birds where the visitors are more captive than the various flocks, enclosures of giraffes where people walk on raised boardwalks to see them, and even a wonderful swamp filled with alligators and other Florida creatures. This time, though, it was extra special – the zoo had a dinosaur exhibit! Animatronic models of dinosaurs beside a path that led to signs interpreting the lives of the creatures, and along the way actual fossils, an explanation of the digging and even a real live actual archeologist to chat with! What a great learning time for our grandson – who is just at that age to love everything about dinosaurs.

Some folks poo-poo zoos, and some zoos are not what we’d hope them to be. But, when done right, a zoo can help enrich people’s lives by educating us about the animals and the world around us. I’m very happy to have my grandson as an excuse to go visit the zoo, I mean, I’d go on my own, but with a 5 year old in front of me it’s just that much more fun!