I had a chance in a lifetime. I entered a contest. A CHICAGO contest. I mean what were my odds? Hundreds and hundreds of people entered through Facebook and the ABC News channel website. It was a simple contest. Answer one question.
I posted mine. Out of all of those wishes, 4 of us get to have our dream come true. I found out the other jobs were, a baker (I think in a cupcake bakery) a voice over (sounds cool) and working the grounds at Wrigley Field where the Chicago Cubs play.
Well mine? It was here…
The beautiful, (even in the pouring rain) Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo. I wanted to be a Zoo Keeper. And do EVERYTHING they do.
I started my day out on my own. I was there SUPER early. (about an hour and a half early. But traffic is tricky, and I just COULDN’T be late for this day)
The first amazing thing I was able to experience was this. 200 acres of ME and the Zoo. Outside of a few keepers in their vans and golf carts driving by, construction working updating buildings, and making the sculptures for the upcoming impressive bug display and the Brookfield Zoo police (yes they have their own police department) it was me, myself and nature at it’s best.
This lawn pictured is usually FILLED with people, kids, and noise. At 7 am it’s just silence. JUST silent.
I came across these Waterbucks. They were all laying down till I showed up, then they all got up came to the fence and just awkwardly stared at me.
Not sure if it was because I wasn’t a khaki pant wearing regular this early in the morning, or if they thought I was bringing them food, we were both thrown off a bit.
After a minute of uncomfortable staring on both of our parts, I laughed. Said ‘Good morning, Waterbucks!’ and even though it was pouring rain, I continues on my walk around the Zoo. I’ve learned in life, there will be rain, and instead of whining about it. Enjoy it, take in a scenery your not used to seeing in this weather and go with it.
Then I walked, and walked. Not to many animals were out. Most were probably with keepers, getting taken care of before they went out to their yards for the day.
I went by the Lions, no one was out. But I could just HEAR them roaring. And a lions roar just goes right through me. It’s an amazing sound, and when your right there. It’s even more amazing.
I did come across these two snow leopards. I found out later that these are new to our Zoo, they are only 2 years old. So super playful. This is the most I’ve ever seen an animal move in this area! Usually they are fast asleep (well they are cats!) I had a blast with them.
I picked up my umbrella to shake it out with out thinking, and one crouched down and shook his butt to pounce at the window! I laughed and played along. I teased him with my umbrella as he put his massive paws on the glass!
Having the Zoo, the Waterbucks, the Snow Leopards, the lawn empty to myself was just another amazing part to my day.
Let’s talk Geese. These are not strangers to ANYONE who lives in Chciagoland. They are native and I love them. They are huge, beautiful, strong, and I have a weird love for them.
They are also overprotective and aggressive. They bite. Don’t try to pet them. They don’t like it. I once worked in a vet. I cleaned kennels. The vet took in wild animals who were injured. So on that note these birds are nasty messy, and I can say I’ve had a left wing to my face and it hurts like hell. But I still love them. From a respectful distance.
My amusement was watching the Zoo employee’s have to shoo them from these planters (behind the bench there) if you look close, she’s in there trying to nest. He’s watching me ready to assault (believe me I keep my distance)
The Zoo can’t have them nest there, because it’s RIGHT by South Gate, and people don’t have brains. They like to pet things, and well let’s just say this wouldn’t be a warm welcome to the zoo. So they put big branches in their to keep them out… I don’t think it’s working well. (the geese do nest all over the grounds if your wondering.)
At one point while on my job, we had to stop the cart. PR got out to YELL at these kids who were taunting the Geese. Good for her, she said “I’m NOT asking you. I’m TELLING you” Shame on those chaperone’s/parents, that was just irresponsible on their part.
On my long walk, I came across a HUGE board, a timeline of the Zoo’s great history moments. I’d post all the pictures but there is about 12 of them. Not sure if you want ALL that on here.
After a nice morning, of Brookfield Zoo to myself, with all the rain and cold. I loved it. It was a good time to gather my thoughts, to take it all in, and to just BE one with my Zoo.
I’ll leave you with that for now. It was a jam packed morning of events. It’ll take me a few posts to get it all in. Until then, have a happy day!