After I’d spent two nights in Virginia Beach, I headed back to Richmond, where I would stay for the remainder of my vacation. As I’ve mentioned (I think) in previous posts about this particular trip, I was not looking for anything exotic or exciting. I was looking for a chance to relax as much as possible. And that’s what made up the majority of the rest of my week away from home. But some other stuff happened, too. Believe it or not, there’s enough for another blog post after this one. And it’s not just me typing about how I got to sleep late and use up as much complimentary miniature shampoos that I could.
This post could really be titled, “That Time I Went to the Zoo.” Because this post will be about that time I went to the zoo.
Did you know that Richmond even had a zoo? I sure didn’t. That is, until I found a brochure for it while I was staying in that craphole (one word or two?) that I was in during my first couple nights of vacation. The Metro Richmond Zoo is actually a pretty decent place to explore the animal kingdom. I wouldn’t call it the best zoo I’ve ever been to, but really, how many zoos have I really been to? It’s definitely better than the one we had growing up in Roanoke.
Not that there’s anything wrong with the Mill Mountain Zoo. I haven’t actually been there in many years and I believe that it is God’s will that I stay away from that place. I only say that because in recent years, I’ve attempted to go to that particular zoo twice and, both times, fate stepped in and prevented me from making it through the main entrance. I once suggested it as a field trip for the kids we were working with during a summer program. I even worked with the powers that be at the Mill Mountain Zoo to arrange for a good day to visit. When that day came, I, as a counselor, was not needed as a chaperone on that field trip. Another time I attempted to go with some friends from Blacksburg. We drove into Roanoke and discovered that, because of an ill-timed thunderstorm the previous evening, the zoo had no power and was therefore closed. Why does the zoo need power for people to walk around outside to stare at animals? See? God’s will.
Anyway, the Richmond zoo… Look, I love zoos. I love animals. I find animals fascinating. I don’t think I’m alone. Just look at the shear volume of cat videos that can be found on YouTube. Animals are fun and interesting and entertaining. You know what? So are people.
The people that attend the zoo are almost as fun to watch as the animals themselves. Honestly, I tried not to interact with too many people. Anyone, really. Because a part of this vacation that I absolutely loved was that I was on my own. I was enjoying my solitude. I liked just walking around the zoo following whatever path I decided to take. I don’t know what it is about me that just invites strangers to just come up to me and start a conversation. Maybe, as a counselor, I just attract the crazy.
Picture this: I’m at the tiger enclosure. I’m watching this tiger just pacing around behind the glass. I love tigers. They’re beautiful creatures. I’m not saying I’d want to have one as a pet. I just think they’re awesome. All those years of eating Frosted Flakes, I guess something clicked. Anyway, on the wall outside the enclosure, there’s a plaque that tells the story of Rajah, the tiger that had been a resident of the zoo for many years before his death just a couple years ago. As I’m reading about how Rajah succumbed to the ravages of old age, this lady walks up behind me and starts telling me about how the tiger currently on display is the one that killed Rajah.
Huh? This sign on the wall says Rajah died when he got extremely old. You, ma’am, are not a zoo employee. As far as I can tell, you paid $16.50 to get in here just like I did. That being the case, I can’t stand here and assume that you know more about these animals than I do. I certainly don’t want to assume you know more about these animals than the officially posted signage that can be found beside each of the animals’ enclosures. I could have easily corrected her, directing her to the sign that I had just finished reading. But I didn’t want to have a conversation. I wanted to walk away. So I just gave her a placating “wow” and walked away.
Have you seen We Bought a Zoo? If you haven’t, you should. It’s a great movie. It kept running through my head the entire time I was walking around the Metro Richmond Zoo. I kept thinking about how cool it would be to own a zoo. Sure, it’s a lot of work, but you could always hire Scarlett Johansson as the head zookeeper. Who’d say no to that?
Well, kids, I don’t have any other humorous anecdotes about my trip to the zoo. I could make a Pokemon Go joke, but it just seems too easy. So I’ll let pictures tell the rest of my zoo day. Enjoy!