Orphaned grizzlies, brother and sister, Huck and Finley, were really going at it with each other. I think that they were just playing, but it was a roughhousing kind of play. They would chase each other back-and-forth and occasionally get up on their hind two legs and commence to wrestle, all the while biting at each other. In the end, having worn themselves out, they calmed down, but it was quite the sight while it lasted. Quite a crowd of people had gathered to watch.
The day before, we had gone to the gardens, which were almost completely empty, but there were more people at the zoo than I expected. Everyone was masked, except for the little kids, who had no concept of social distancing. We stayed outside and tried to social distance, so hopefully things will be alright.
Like with the gardens, it has been a year since we last visited the zoo. Unlike with the gardens not much seems to have changed in that year. All of the statues are still roped off, but all of the buildings were open. They swapped cages between the Snow Leopard and the Mountain Lions, giving the two Mountain Lions more room, while the sole Snow Leopard has to make do with less. That must have been a tricky exchange to pull off. The new lemur exhibit is taking shape and looks way more impressive from the inside the zoo than from outside, but there is still a lot of work yet to be done. All-in-all it was a nice visit.
We visited the gardens for the first time in a year. We have gone to the gardens’ Shaw Nature Reserve several times in this last year. It is less populated and wider open and felt safer. As it turns out on a weekday in February even the gardens are pretty empty. A lot had changed at the gardens. First off, the Ridgeway visitor’s center has been torn down. Although relatively new, it was deemed obsolete and unable to handle the expected greater visitor flow. So, the first thing to greet us on our visit was the sound of jackhammers. A new, smaller building is now serving as the garden’s temporary visitor’s center. It looks permanent though. So, I’m unsure what its eventual role will be. The new entrance fronts onto the Linnean House, a Henry Shaw era greenhouse that has been emptied out, except for some construction debris. Likewise, with the adjacent fountains, one of them had been boarded over. The Climatron was open, but we had decided to stay out of the buildings, as best we could. Besides with wearing masks our glasses were already fogging up. The home gardening center was closed due to another construction project, as were many of the smaller trails throughout the gardens, probably because of Covid. Even the fish food dispensers for the koi in the Japanese garden were boarded up. Amazingly, there were a few flowers out, Winter Aconite, Snowdrops and Witch Hazel, lots of Witch Hazel. To think that only a week ago the highs were in single digits.
We’ve walked in Forest Park twice this week, taking advantage of this week’s warmer weather. The first time, we parked the car in the southwest corner of the park and then walked around the zoo. On this stroll, we can peer through the various gates and occasionally see an animal or two. Yesterday, we parked near the Jewel Box and then toured the water features of the park. This ramble was a little bit muddy. People must be becoming satiated of the outdoors, after being cooped up by the cold, because there were surprisingly few people in the park. Part of our inspiration for walking in Forest Park came from a Google news article that announced that the park was named the best city park in the country.