Our family, just about to begin our first adventure together into the "wilds" of the zoo. Mt. Rainier is between our heads.
Yesterday, we took Silas to the zoo for the first time. There are two zoos near us. We chose to go to the Tacoma zoo because it's smaller and therefore seemed a bit more manageable. Uncle Patrick joined us. Silas liked watching the penguins.
He also enjoyed the Beluga Whales.
And the walruses were OK from above, but he got a bit scared when we encountered them up close in the underwater viewing area. It was the only time he got a bit freaked out. Even the big polar bear didn't faze him.
Out of everything we saw, Si's favorites seemed to be all of the fish. He spent a long time looking at them, completely absorbed.
Silas walked most of the time, and was occasionally carried by one of his "giants." But after 4 hours (and only a half hour nap on the way to the zoo), he was ready for mom to strap him onto her back and chill out. I really don't want to sound braggy, but man, that kid did really well. No meltdowns, despite all of the stimulation.
OK, so here's were I admit that I have mixed feelings about zoos. Please feel free to skip this paragraph if you don't feel like having a soapbox moment. This zoo educates a lot and the animals are treated very well. They are all well cared for. It's a good zoo. And Silas loved it. And I loved seeing him love it. I could almost forget my qualms about the zoo... but then, there's the elephants. Two elephants to be exact. And they don't belong there. Clearly. Elephants thrive in large family groups on large tracts of land. Two elephants are probably all the zoo can afford; after all, they eat an enormous amount and need space. But they simply need more than what the zoo can give to them and it kind of breaks my heart because I think the only reason zoos always have elephants is because people want to see them so badly. Elephants bring people and people bring money. It is a conundrum, and I don't want to make zoos like this one out to be the bad guys because I can think of many many things that are worse. But sometimes I wonder what's truly more important to a zoo: the animals, or the profit. In the interest of full disclosure, we'll probably continue to take Silas to the zoo every now and then, but I will probably feel a bit guilty every time.