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Adventures of our family safari

By Staff | Jun 19, 2009

We took our two children on a bit of a safari the other day.

The family took our annual trip to the Roosevelt Park Zoo in Minot. Every kid should visit the zoo at least once a year.

Our two-and-a-half-year-old daughter Abby had been there last year, but she didn’t remember the trip.

We do and, you know, not much has changed since the last time we were there.

The bear is still pacing back and forth along the front of the cage. The lion is still sleeping on his perch. The pot-bellied pig is still squealing in protest of his confinement. The monkeys are still scratching themselves.

It’s pretty much business as usual at the zoo, and Abby enjoyed every minute of it. The geese and their crop of new babies met us at the entrance. She got a close-up view of many exotic animals like the giraffe, brown bear, warthog, alligator, leopard, and piranhas.

On outings like these I often wonder what’s going in that little head of hers. One minute she’s calmly watching a DVD of her favorite cartoon in the van, and the next minute she’s watching wild animals do their thing – even if for some of them “their thing” consists of doing nothing all day. I swear that lion hasn’t moved since last year. I suppose they took him inside for the winter and just placed him back there when the zoo opened this spring.

She roared at the lions and tigers that were too lazy to roar back. But Abby didn’t seem to mind that the big cats had no interest in putting on a show for the zoo goers.

She’s all about immersing herself in whatever world she finds herself. She asked to pet the bears and we said no. She asked to go down the slide with the monkey in his cage and we said no. She asked to swing on the ropes with the lemur and we said no.

We did allow her to ride a horse, in fact, four of them! Well, they were the fiberglass variety fixed on a small carousel. She liked it so much she went back for a second, third and fourth ride.

Abby asked about the Big Bad Wolf after we visited the pigs’ pen. We looked in wolf’s cage, but we couldn’t find that Big Bad Wolf. The poor little pigs are safe for now.

It’s quite a jungle out there, even at the local zoo. The lemurs were yelping so loudly at one point it sent Abby running toward Mommy. The aquarium full of hissing cockroaches was very interesting to her. She loved the spooky-looking owl perched high up in his cage.

I don’t know how many times we heard her ask, “What dat, Mommy”? Like all toddlers she’s curious about the world around her, and what better place to learn about things outside her normal realm than at the zoo?

She spends her days watching her favorite characters, Dora the Explorer and Diego. She remarked about how the animals remind her of many of her favorite cartoons. Here she could immerse herself in the real world of animals. Well, as real as the metal cage and man-made pond can get.

She must have enjoyed herself because she was fast asleep by the time we left the city limits – probably dreaming about the big bad wolf.

Mullally is a Tribune writer.

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