Feeding Time at the Zoo


Daddy’s takin’ us to the zoo today,
zoo today, zoo today
Daddy’s takin’ us to the zoo today
and we can stay all day!

We’re goin’ to the zoo, zoo, zoo
How about you, you, you?
You can come too, too, too
We’re goin’ to the zoo, zoo, zoo.
And we can stay all day!

Well the seals in the pool all honk-honk-honkin’
Catchin’ the fish and honk-honk-honkin’
Little tiny seals all honk-honk-honkin’
And we can stay all day!

First off, we’re talking sea lions, not seals, and these pups are not small, not at all.  If you look at the heads you can tell the difference, sea lions have ear flaps, seals do not.  I’ve lived in Saint Louis for almost thirty years and have rarely seen the sea lion feedings.  Although, they take place three times a day, everyday.

They took place even during the great blizzard of January 30-31, 1982.  Although NOAA lists this storm as a blizzard in quotation marks only (something about sustained winds), I think five hours of thunder snow and almost two feet of accumulation, more than fills the bill.  We had just come out of a Saturday matinee at the Esquire when we heard our first rumble of thunder.  By the time we had walked the few blocks back to our apartment, the snow was already coming down fast.  We had planned to drive over to see friends that evening, but by the time we were ready to leave, we thought better of that idea.

On the next morning, Sunday, the snow was still falling briskly.  Then, still only two years out from Michigan we still had our cross country skis and still knew how to use them.  We headed out on skis for the Park, which was only about half a mile from the apartment and mainly downhill.  We tooled around the Park for hours and at one point, while passing an open service entrance to the zoo, asked an entering employee if the zoo was open.  He thought for a moment, but since the zoo only closes on Christmas and Easter, said yes.

We skied in.  All the buildings were closed, but the sea lions were having a great time.  The snow was piled high on their ersatz rocks, giving them a much more realistic appearance.  We did find that there was one building open, the snack shack that has since been replaced by the Lakeside Café.  We ducked in there for hot chocolate.  While we were sipping our chocolate and enjoying the building’s warmth, a handful of zookeepers had gathered.  Only a fraction of the regular staff had made it in to work and these few were doing the work of many.  I remember one excited guy exclaim, “I have two hundred herbivores to feed!”

We skied home and within a week Saint Louis had dug itself out.  This Sunday, was not like that one.  Yesterday, we had a record high and today though much cooler was still above freezing.  Anne and I turned in fourteen miles today on bikes.  Anne also picked up her Frost-Bike t-shirt.  Just a thought, none of the sea lions that we saw today are old enough to remember that 1982 day.  Come to think of it, I wonder about Becky, the zookeeper that fed them, too.

I had a lot of problems uploading this video to YouTube so I hope you enjoy it …

2 thoughts on “Feeding Time at the Zoo

  1. Went to bed last night with ideas of getting up early for work, and maybe dealing with rain. First report on the radio, “Seattle schools 2 hours late.” SNOW? And my primary route closed due to accidents. Nothing like one week digging out, but slowed me right down.

Leave a Reply