Solarized Zoo Zebras

We walked in Forest Park this morning. Trying to get out early, to beat the heat. We parked up at the top of the hill near the Hi-Pointe and then descended down Government Drive into its shade. I was reminded why we usually avoid the park on the weekend. It was crowded, chock full of weekend warriors, all huffing and a puffing with their exertions. It was masks up and social avoidance the best we could. Once we got away from the bike-path the population density decreased markedly. I was able to relax and listen to the quiet sounds of Kennedy Forest.

Down the hill, we encountered something new at the north entrance to the zoo. Tents and rope lines had been erected for the coming zoo reopening later this month. We stopped a zoo employee and asked about the schedule. Apparently, later is not going to be that much later. Monday, the zoo will open for members only. Next Saturday, it reopens for everyone. Come Monday, the peace and quiet of Government Drive will be gone and the road reopened to vehicles. It did not appear as though the south entrance along Wells Drive will reopen.

There was a new sign up explaining some of the rules. General admission will remain free. However, a timed reservation will be required. So, admission will be limited. Otherwise, throngs would show up and a line of cars backing up onto the highway would result. Other than the sea lion show, all the other ticketed attractions will be available, including both the train ride and the carousel. Face masks will be required for all visitors, but small children. I don’t think that we will be going to the zoo anytime soon. Maybe in the fall, when the weather turns colder and schools hopefully restarts, then it might be uncrowded enough for us to think about going to the zoo. Even so, I would stay out of all the buildings.

We continued walking east, past the zoo. Around the World’s Fair Pavilion, we ran into another spat of cardio congestion. Too many people working out, not blocked arteries. Past that we circled the Nature Playscape worksite, which this being the weekend, wasn’t being worked. Bounding the eastside of the worksite is a road, Carr Lane Drive. It is not much trafficked and was very shady when we walked it. There are always a few cars parked there and I wonder if it is a gay hangout. When we walked, there were three vehicles parked, all with one man per. Across from the Nature Playscape worksite is a dense forested section that also is little used, but would provide plenty of privacy for whatever.

There used to be another locale in the Kennedy Forest part of the park. That was also rumored to be a gay hangout. Through park renovations, the city removed that road (Coincidence?), thus prompting the popularity of Carr Lane. With most bars still closed, the social avenues for gay men to meet are somewhat limited, but I would be surprised if the city permitted any such things to continue, once the adjoining new children’s playground eventually opens. Saint Louis is still very conservative. And yes it got hot by the time we made it back to the car.

A Walk in the Park

Giant of the Swamp – Zoo Ibis

We walked in the park this morning. It was a little cool and cloudy out, which probably accounted for the lack of people in the park. We walked the golf course and then Kennedy Forest. Probably the highpoint of this walk was when we peered in, through the fence, at the birds in the old 1904 birdcage. Originally built for the world’s fair, this birdcage became the founding cornerstone of the Saint Louis Zoo. We could see egrets, herons, spoonbills and ibis. Along with cormorants and numerous other types of waterfowl. The birds seemed to have adjusted well to this new normal, spreading out over the boardwalks and duck boards that normally are the providence of the human visitors. Since the zoo is now closed to the public, the birds literally rule the roost.

Strangers in the Night


Anne, the kids and I went to the zoo. As per usual, we got a late start and eventually ended up closing the place. Although the holiday lights display is still up that festival is now over. It was a gray day and with winter’s early dusk, low light photography proved difficult. Still, I got a few good shots. The zoo officially closes at five. By then it was too dark to take pictures.

It was interesting being in the zoo at this crepuscular hour. Normally, I’m there in the morning. Most of the animals were anxiously awaiting dinner. We looked away for just a moment and all of the zebras had disappeared inside their building. All of the big cats were on the prowl. Some animals who sleep all day were up and moving around, like the hyenas, but by the time we were asked to leave, most of the animals had already gone inside for the night.

After the zoo, we went to Blueberry Hill, where I got to practice my parallel parking skills, in the new SUV. After dinner we all retired to the couch and plowed through the first half of the second season of Mrs. Maisel. We got to see that show’s department store switchboard prop in action that Dan had told us about. It being a school night, we all too soon called it quits.

Looking out our bedroom window, Anne was first to spy movement on our back porch. We thought that it was a cat. They frequently like to sun themselves there. It offers an excellent view of the bird feeders. Although, I should point out that there was no sun at that hour. I flipped on the porch light, revealing not one, not cats, but two muskrats. We all looked at them, while they looked back at us. I tried a photo, but it was too dark and there were too many heads in the way.

This morning, recounting that encounter, Anne launched into singing Strangers in the Night, but with her own lyrics. Maybe instead of, Strangers in the night, exchanging glances, wandering the night, what were the chances. I was thinking it would be better to go with, Muskrat Suzie, Muskrat Sam… Muskrat Love.