Do you love taking a trip to the zoo? I do! I really can't imagine not loving the zoo. We have a family membership to Chicago's Brookfield Zoo, about 40 minutes from our house. While we don't go as often as I like, it's always an adventure when we do go. We're thinking about going Monday, which led me to thinking about my most recent trip there.
While the zoo is always eventful, last time (July) was one of the most bizarre yet. We had just gotten into the new bear exhibit (VERY cool), and are standing on a slightly raised area looking at the underwater view of the polar bears. My daughter, referring to a guy standing in front of us, says, "That guy looks famous." I'm busy filling out a survey related to the exhibit (anything for a free pencil!!!) so I look at this guy. He was big. Huge. Very athletic looking. I thought maybe she was onto something, but I hadn't quite pegged it. Then he turns around, looks, my way and I thought I might just about DIE.... it was Chicago Cubs first baseman Derek Lee (OK, I know he got traded a couple of weeks ago. I know this because it was a day of mourning in our home). I am a big time Cubs fan (and yes, I can prove that because I named my son after one of them!) so my brain is about to explode. Realizing it's my daughter's favorite player, I lean over to her and say, "Holy **something**, that's Derek Lee." Now she's running around in circles like her butt's on fire. I'm frozen in place, she's freaking out. It was quite the sight as you can imagine. We of course become stalkers of the first degree, until it happened.... my image of D Lee got ruined. His wife changed their baby's diaper and she gave it to him to throw it away. Didn't she get the memo? Derek Lee is way too good for that! What? That's a multi-million dollar hand... you have people for that... PUH-LEASE!!!!!! I thought about giving her a piece of my mind, but getting ejected from the zoo and having my membership revoked is not the legacy I want to walk away with! He hung around the bear exhibit for a long time.... which meant I pretended to be VERY interested in bears for a long time. To this day my friends are disappointed that I didn't ask for an autograph. To sign what? My zoo program? A dirty tissue? I'm a Cub fan with pride!
After we got done there, we had time for one last exhibit. We decided to head over to the Australia house. We're just about to head inside the building and this CRAZY lady comes running out, arms flailing, screaming, "The wombat is dead! The wombat is dead!" I was still in la-la land about the Cub I saw in the bear exhibit (LOL) so this chick scared me to death, caught me totally of guard! "The wombat is dead" ... is that code for something? Come on, that DEFINITELY isn't something you hear every day! As she passes by, she says to me, "I'm going to get someone!!" Yes, run fast! Get the wombat specialist! Geez. If it is DEAD, is it a crisis? Well, you know I had to go and see for myself. It's pitch dark in there and is one of those setups where you look down to see the animal below you. I can tell you this much... he was either dead or sleeping pretty darned deeply.... flat on his back legs extended straight up in the air. I was watching for some sort of twitch, a sign of movement. Nothing. A few minutes later, two zoo people come in (couldn't tell you if they were custodians, vets or parking lot attendants) and start staring. So now there are three of us staring. I asked one of them, "Does he always sleep like that?" She smiled and walked out. What the heck does that mean? I'm a big girl, I can handle the news that he died and went to "Wombat Heaven." Nothing. Come on!!! Because you know I'm going to get hounded the whole way home... "Mom, do you think that wombat really died?" "Do you know if they can get another wombat?" "Do they really sleep with their legs up in the air?" Geez Louise. I did go to college, but I did not major in wombats, yet you KNOW how kids are... they will expect you to have all the answers. A side note.... I will tell you that I would rather talk about dead wombats with her than what those LOUSY zebras were doing! For Pete's sake. Show a little modesty guys!!!! Get a room! I'm not a photographer with National Geographic and this isn't Animal Planet. I'm still working on getting that visual out of my head.
Without a doubt, if we do go Monday, you KNOW the first thing we are going to do is to check on the wombat. But steer clear of the zebras!
Have a great night!