Thursday, February 7, 2013

Zoo Bucket List (post 1)

As I walked through the brisk winter air. I realized I had a large grin on my face. Because I was going to check something off my bucket list.

The thing about Bucket Lists are, I think, people wait till they are older to start checking them off. Why wait? Life is to short, things happen, people die, people get sick. I’ve been checking things off my list since 1978. And today I was able to do another one.

Going to one of my favorite places, like I have SO many times before. But this time. By myself.


Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo.

Some people see the zoo as a bunch of animals in cages to show off. But little do they know HOW much more then that the zoo really is. It’s about conservation, and teaching, not only the public about animals but teaching themselves. Learning something new everyday. Through observation, and study.

I spend a good amount of my day chatting with the amazing volunteers, or as they are also called, Docents.
Patricia was the first I had encountered. She was in the Australia house.

I did spend some time in the beginning of the Australia house, watching the boa’s and other small displays they had. It’s a smaller darker house, and while most people run through it. I stroll.

I was first drawn to where she was because the keeper was hosing down the Kookaburra birds, who are housed with a Tawny Frogmouth birds (seen here)


Super cool to watch. The keeper was hand feeding fish to the birds.

Which excited the Kookabura’s and they starting their amazing singing! It’s not often the public gets to hear them. I felt lucky.

Patricia and I chatted about wombats, the baby they just had there. Their age, weight and how strong they are. Being that it was feeding time, and no people, this was the most moving around I’ve ever seen the wombats do. They were scratching, sniffing, and moving about.


I was too excited to move onto my favorite place in the Australia house, and one of my favorite places period in this zoo. The free flying bat area.

Well there is one thing to learn about me, it’s that I don’t fear animals. Don’t get it wrong with the fact that I respect them. I know their dangerous, and could at any time, harm me. BUT I also know enough about animals that I know what to fear, how to act, and how far to trust.

So when you go into the free flying bat area, know that the Rodriques fruit bats will fly around. They may even fly close to you. I did hear a story where a lady had one land on her. She wasn’t amused. Myself? I’d be thrilled only hoping it wouldn’t go to the bathroom on me.

Patricia taught me about how the bats are named from Rodriques Island that is off the coast of Madagascar. I learned the one’s you see in the open area are neutered males and females. (they like to breed!) With out a flash you can still capture a great shot.


Hard to see the bats. They are usually above on the screen. But to the left on the ground is one crawling.

I spent about 45 minutes chatting with Patricia. Found out later she’s THE know all of docents that volunteer at the zoo. So happy I was able to spend so much time with her.

After our conversation. She said I’ve got something to tell you. I was nervous. She said “Thank you. You are an exception to many people that come to our zoo to visit. You WANT to learn about animals, you also appreciate what it is we do here. You seem to be teaching your children all about the animals. But you are teaching them about what it is we do here at the zoo. You have a great respect for the animals, and a great want to learn all you can about the animals. I’m thankful for people like you.” She touched my arm. And said she had to go off to her next station. It was a great visit.

THIS is what I wanted out of my day. Not expecting a compliment like that. But time to chat with keepers, and docents. To explore the quiet of the zoo. The winter life. The Zoo to me is so much more then the summer rush of too many people and those damn tour busses that drive around, forcing you to move out of the way. I’m not a fan of crowds, and at this rate I’m spoiled with quiet time at the zoo.

To be continued…

JCat McGack

1 comment:

Maureen said...

I'm so glad you went to the zoo by yourself. I'm so happy for you that you got such an unexpected compliment! Great day!