I am a zoo-lover. To me, one of the gratifications of having children is the ability to share my love of animals and wildlife and create little zoo-lovers to follow in my footsteps. With five tykes seven and under, we've been quite busy exploring every zoo within reasonable -- and not so reasonable --distance from our home in the suburbs of New York City. To date, we've been lucky enough to visit the National Zoo in Washington D.C., the San Francisco Zoo ...
The Bronx Zoo (on numerous occasions) and, on one stellar day, the Dublin Zoo.
Our visit to the Dublin Zoo was last October, during a whirlwind family trip to visit our roots in Ireland. Since then, we have visited our "local" zoo in the Bronx twice -- once on New Year's Eve (yes, I did choose to ring in the new year with all our children and the sights, sound and smells of zoo animals!) and once this past weekend. On Sunday, my husband Des took our seven year old, Liam to see the Ireland vs. France rugby match and, given the choice of staying home alone with our four other tykes or heading to the zoo, I did what any other sane, tired 40-year old mum would do, I took them to the zoo! Again! And, once again, I was reminded of a tale of two zoos...
"Our" zoo is the zoo of my childhood. The zoo I visited on class trips. The zoo I first shared with my children. But "your" zoo, the Dublin Zoo, is truly a zoo of many wonders. It is the zoo where my one and only little lady turned five. It is the zoo where I could swear we experienced four seasons in a day as the wind blew and the weather turned from sunny to cloudy to rainy to frigid to sunny once again. It is the only zoo (and, as I've now established, I've seen many a zoo!) where we saw an elephant take a bath, a herd of giraffes happily mingle with several zebras, and truly, more animals than people!
Don't get me wrong, I love our zoo here in the Bronx and am pleased to report that membership has its privileges; we parked, visited and rode the merry-go-round for free, thanks to our annual family membership. We got up close and personal with tigers, gorillas, sea lions, a polar bear and more than a few "friendly" peacocks.
At the end of the day, it's hard to say which zoo would win the battle of the zoos... personally, I just feel blessed to have visited them all and to have five fab kids to share them with.