I thoroughly enjoy watching the wildlife that lives outside my window, but every now and then I like to check out those sights that I can’t see in the yard. When those urges strike, it’s tough to beat a day at the Pittsburgh Zoo.
The day didn’t look like it would be a good day for animal watching. Most of the ride out on the PA Turnpike involved adjusting the speed on the windshield wipers to match the speed of the rain hitting the windshield. Not what most consider a formula for a good day at the zoo. The outlook didn’t change much in the parking lot with the dark skies and sounds of thunder not too far away. Any doubt of having a good day vanished at the tiger’s domain. The majestic stance of the tiger can brighten any day. One of the tigers was out prancing around, a sign of things to come. The darker day played havoc with my cheap camera (it doesn’t do very well in low-light conditions) but that was okay.
The rain started to fall so we rushed to the elephants for shelter. The crowd was much smaller because of the weather, but it was a good crowd. Everyone was friendly and courteous, perhaps a sign of the type of character one has to have to enjoy the zoo in the rain. The elephants seemed to enjoy the rain, two of the younger ones frolicking in the water most of the time we were there. By that time, it was obvious that a lot of the animals were enjoying the cooler, rainy day.
Dian Fossey would have been proud of the majestic “gorilla in the mist” who was frolicking around much to the delight of those present. I got to hear him pounding on his chest a little bit, a sound I’ve thankfully never heard in my own yard.
Fishes, snakes, penguins, kangaroos, and other exotic animals were all around, but it was hard to beat the playful frolicking of the sea otters swimming around in the tank. The guy who was watching over the baby sea otter told us that playful quality made them very dangerous. It seems people think they’re as friendly as they look and end up losing pieces of their face when they get too close. Who knew? I still like the sharks, myself. There’s just something about seeing those teeth up close that I find thrilling.
One memorable moment for me came when I was watching the meerkats. I turned and saw one of my favorite singers with her family. I didn’t say hello or bother them for an autograph because I didn’t think it right to interrupt a family memory in the making and I was determined to respect their privacy. Besides that, I was too chicken. Maybe they’ll be lucky enough to meet me the next time.
This day at the zoo was a wonderful experience. I’ll always remember all those wonderful animals. I’ll also remember what most people consider a waste of a day because of rain can be a very special day when we appreciate the wonder of creation.