On a lark, we ended up going to the zoo this morning and oh boy, what a great idea that was. We all know what a tough winter this has been. Well, it has been tough on the animals at the zoo too. Long days stuck inside or when they do get to go outside, it is just so freaking cold out there, but the worst of it for the poor beasties is that there have been no people to watch them. It gets so boring for those critters when there is no one but zoo keepers to see. I sympathize with them. I have long come to know that the best thing about bicycling in Forest Park is the ever-changing scenery of people. The keepers are nice and all, they even feed the animals, but they are always so blame busy, rushing around doing one thing or the next. There is never any time to just watch them, as they watch back. Besides all the keepers look the same, or at least dress the same in those same boring khaki uniforms. Anyway, that’s what it seemed like to me.
I’ve never seen the animals all so attentive to me, as they were today. Usually, like during the summer high season they just turn their backs to the crowd, because they can’t stand the sight on another human. All the animals made great eye contact today, leading to a treasure trove of photos, but by far the best ones were the sea lions. The new sea-lion exhibit is still relatively novel. It is less than two years old. Every time that I’ve visited Sea Lion Sound in the past, it has been mobbed, but not so today. In fact, the whole zoo was pretty much depopulated, at least of people. The sea lions were certainly the most interactive animals of the day. In the summer the sea lion’s water is chilled, making the Plexiglas tunnel under the sea nice and cool. In the winter though, the tunnel is heated, making it a welcoming respite from today’s still chilly weather.
The children were the best. They enjoyed playing with the sea lions almost as much as the sea lions loved playing with them. First with faces pressed to the glass, a couple of little girls got a fright, when one of the sea lions rushed them with its teeth bared. We all laughed at that. Then I tried imitating the children and too was made to flinch. The sea lions are just that good at this game. This got a laugh from both the kids and their parents too. The most popular game though was when the children began throwing their gloves up to the ceiling of the tunnel. The sea lions had just been fed, so maybe their reactions were a bit Pavlovian and the gloves were black, but whenever one of the kids threw up one of their gloves a sea-lion would swoop in to grab it. I would say that Anne’s bright colors attracted the sea lions to her, but sea lions are supposed to be colorblind. I guess it was just her natural animal magnetism. It works for me!