Friday, May 26, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things

Hello Friday! Are you in the mood to celebrate? Huzzahs to our host, Lexa Cain, along with cohosts, L.G. Keltner and Tonya Drecker! Let's get wild.

African penguins--Ah, the memories.

A few weeks ago we went to the Seneca Park Zoo here in Rochester. I love going to see the animals and it always reminds me of the years I worked in a zoo as a penguin keeper waay back in the nineties. Here's a few tips on zoo etiquette:

1. Hang on to your coins. 

This koi is around 18 inches long!

Have you ever peered into a zoo pond or water feature and seen tons of coins? Before you make a wish and toss one yourself, make sure it's actually supposed to be a wishing well. There should not be any zoo animals in that enclosure. At the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC, people would throw coins in the duck pond, and the bottom-feeding ducks would eat them. Several ducks died with a belly full of corroded pennies in their stomachs.

2. Don't feed the animals.

This zookeeper is feeding balls of meat to a young lion. Notice that he is on the other side of the fence and is using a tool to keep his fingers away from the lion's mouth. Do not try this yourself with the burger you got at the snack shop!

Apples are healthy, natural food items, right? Well, I heard a sad story of an ostrich that died with an apple (thrown into the enclosure by a zoo visitor) stuck in its throat. Zoos often have feeding "shows" when you can watch keepers feed certain animals. Sometimes visitors can even feed animals themselves under supervision. My daughters used to hand feed giraffes at the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC. It was so cool to see these beautiful animals up close.

3. Never touch a zoo animal.

Snowy Owl

Most enclosures make this impossible, but every zoo is different. That beautiful bird behind the wires might look sweet, but many parrots' beaks can go through a human finger bone like it's butter. Some zoos do have petting areas where you can safely touch certain animals. 

Here are some more pictures from our latest trip to Seneca Park Zoo:

Say cheese, Tiger, please!

These elephants were stripping the bark off the log with their tusks and eating it.

We have raccoons in our backyard, but I love visiting the zoo ones too. So cute.

Feeding time at the sea lion exhibit. Would you clap for raw fish?

A lynx, napping. (I'm so jealous.)

A huge thanks to my husband who managed to capture all these wonderful images though various fences and smeary glass. Amazing job! Do you have a zoo nearby? A favorite animal?


  1. It's been years since I've been to the San Diego Zoo. There are closer zoos, but San Diego is the better one, as well as other attractions they have.

  2. That must've been so much fun working with the penguins. I confess, I was at a zoo where there was a half inch break in the glass wall and I touched a penguin laying against that break.

    That's one thing I've always enjoyed about Sea World - the area where you can feed the sea lions. I buy a basket of fish (or 2 or 3 or 4) every time we visit.

  3. We tend to go to the aquarium more than the zoo, but I have a note of the zoo for a day trip this summer. :)

  4. I would love to work with penguins! It's been a long time since I've been to a zoo.

  5. Anyone who tries to feed a wild animal by hand deserves to be bit. Besides, those animals are on special diets.
    I always enjoy seeing the predators like wolves and the big cats.

  6. My city has a zoo, but I haven't been there. I've been to so many zoos that I feel as if I'm zoo-ed out. I enjoyed your photos, though.


  7. Our zoo is beautiful. I was amazed by that the first time I went. They've done a great job of capturing each species' natural habitat. I always feel at peace there! But yes, only in the petting zoo section is it even all that feasible to pet the animals. I can imagine some people don't follow the rules, though...

  8. Makes me want to go to a zoo. It has been awhile. It hurts when people do things that harm an animal. We are the species that is supposed to have wisdom.

  9. The zoo in Colorado Springs lets you hand feed lettuce to the giraffes. They are so cool up close. Lovely pictures.

  10. What beautiful pictures! And thanks for the advice. It sounds like common sense. I don't think you can actually reach the animals at the Royal Melbourne Zoo. The enclosures are built so you can't. Probably too many idiots doing the things you mention. I've seen penguin feeding at the Aquarium in Manly, Sydney. There is a pool next to it with rather sweet looking gummy sharks, the kind that are harmless but, alas, end up in the menu for fish and chips.

  11. I went to a zoo the other week with my family. It was lots of fun even if not all the animals were out because Michigan got the memo about war weather late so it was still too cold for some tropic animals.

  12. Yes, many thanks to your husband for the great pics! I've been to zoos in a few cities. The Washington DC one is my favorite (along with the Nat'l Gallery Art Museum). Although I remember a better zoo I went to at 6 Flags... but I lived in IN and I'm sure we visited a Midwest one, yet the only one I can see that's working now is New Jersey. Weird. Where did I go on a safari when I was a kid? It's a mystery!

  13. Some great pics - many congratulations to your hubby. How wonderful to have been a zoo keeper - what an extraordinary job! My class always entered any school competitions where the prize was to be a zoo keeper for a day. Certainly have had some wonderful times there taking school children round as well as my own when they were young :)
    Special Teaching at Pempi’s Palace

  14. It's been awhile since we've been to the zoo, and you're pictures and descriptions have inspired me that this will be one of our summer activities again.

  15. What a fascinating job that must have been. I'm not sure I would have ever left. Thanks for all the tips on what not to feed animals. I never realized that coins can be so dangerous or even a harmless apple, but it does make sense.

  16. Good reminders of the rules of the zoo. It's a shame that animals have died because of food visitors have tried to feed them, and pennies tossed in the lake.

  17. Your images are really good. Even though I understand the purpose behind zoos, I'm just not a big zoo goer. It always saddens me to see animals in cages. There are a few zoos that do a good job of creating more open and natural environments and those I applaud.


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