austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

But you can take the crosstown bus if it's raining or it's cold

In the couple days between the loss of Gatekeeper and the discovery of the new fish we went to the Potter Park Zoo, largely because we needed to do something that'd get us out of our funk. And we hadn't been to the zoo, surprisingly, in years; certainly not at least since I moved in, and probably for a year or two before that. Bear in mind we live about twenty feet from the zoo, so our not visiting it more is really nuts.

Something we discovered from their web site is that they have a ``secret'' page, titled Squirrels, hosted by ``Rice'' and encouraging people to send their photos of squirrels in the zoo to her. It's a charming idea and I'm embarrassed we haven't got around to sending any in, since we got a couple of good zoo squirrel pictures, including of one squirrel who was either fearless or foolish. That squirrel used the bald eagle enclosure as a shortcut, and, more amazingly, got away with it. The eagles glared at the intruder some, but didn't move, and ... well, I suppose he knows what he's doing but I think if I were a squirrel I'd stay on the outside of the eagle pen.

They've got camel rides now, though we didn't take one. The ride loop did remind us of Conneaut Lake Park and its pony ride, and also left us scrambling to think of what the heck used to be there. The zoo's been renovating a lot recently and there are a lot of spaces with that nagging sense of I-used-to-know-what-was-here.

There's also a nice walk-in enclosure with cockatiels and parakeets, and according to the sign, something else covered up with sheets of paper. But there's lots of birds, and we got suet sticks to feed them. bunny_hugger was able to lure a bird onto her finger. I couldn't get any one bird that close, but I did get two to feed at once.

The zoo has a couple of meerkats, one of whom apparently was trying his best to keep up the sentry responsibilities, though we noticed he did slack off some, slumping a bit, which after a lifetime in a zoo is understandable. The meerkats are along a path which also had a tribe of banded mongoose, one of whom was either playing with a rock a lot, or else was hurling a rock repeatedly at the enclosure wall so as to break it open. The plaster was chipped a little there.

They also had a (maned?) wolf, or, as we found when we walked away from that enclosure and came back a moment later, two (maned?) wolves. We avoided walking away and back a couple times more since we weren't sure the zoo could successfully manage four, eight, sixteen, or thirty-two wolves all of a sudden.

The zoo had got baby otters a couple months ago, and the babies were on display, but in the earlier hours of the day. By the time we'd gotten there --- never mind by the time we got to the otter pen --- they were long since off display, and even the one otter who was left romping around decided it had done enough work for the day and disappeared wherever it is otters go. Still, it was probably the best thing we could have done that day.

Trivia: O Henry appears to have been the first person to use the phrase ``banana republic'', in 1904's Cabbages And Kings, his only novel. Source: Bananas: How The United Fruit Company Shaped The World, Peter Chapman.

Currently Reading: 1877: America's Year Of Living Violently, Michael E Bellesiles.


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