Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

Mommy took us to the zoo today.  Well actually I drove, but it was Anne’s idea.  Rey came too.  The Saint Louis Zoo is probably the second best zoo in the country.  The San Diego Zoo is clearly the best.  The National Zoo in Washington had given us a run for a while, but I think that in recent years, the Saint Louis Zoo has consistently bested it.

The oldest structure in the Saint Louis Zoo is the bird cage, which dates from the 1904 Worlds Fair.  It was the Smithsonian’s exhibit at the fair and is one of three structures still standing from that fair.  From that beginning the zoo was born.  Marlin Perkins of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom fame was a curator.  Amanda Blake, Miss Kitty, from the TV series Gunsmoke, donated the Cheetah exhibit.  About twenty years ago Saint Louis County agreed to help fund the zoo, plus a number of other Saint Louis treasures.  Since that time the zoo has enjoyed a renaissance. More then half the zoo as it was when Anne and I first moved to Saint Louis has been rebuilt and for the better.

But on Sunday we eschewed many of the newer sections, for the so called heritage portion of the zoo.  The weather was perfect for a fall afternoon.  As the pictures with this post imply, we did Big Cat Country.  We stared for several minutes looking for the lions and then saw them in the middle of their den, busy being passive solar collectors.  They had found a place in their cage to hide in plain sight.  In the summer months, when dawn comes at its earliest, I am sometimes on the bike path.  The big cat’s biological clocks are all set to breakfast time and you can frequently hear them growling as you pass by.  On more than one occasion I have joked to a cyclist that I was passing, that you don’t have to be faster than the lions. “I just need to be faster then you!”

I think that all of the animals pictured with this post are pretty easily identifiable.  Later this week, I’ll get into the more obscure zoo animals and there will be a quiz.  Later still, I will do the birds.  😉

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