Monday, September 3, 2012

Taking The Family To The Zoo

My wife and I had plans to spend this Labor Day together as a family. One of her friends had invited us to an outing that her church was having at their church camp which required about a forty minute drive from Tulsa. The church was supposed to be having a free cookout and had buses that would transport everyone there. Once we got up this morning I had her call her friend and it was discovered that in actuality the food and drinks would cost an unknown sum. Her friend and her family had gotten up late so they were going to drive there and then leave at about two o'clock. The bus however wouldn't be returning until five PM.

Faced with this news and the idea of spending all that time in the heat, most of it with people we didn't know, coupled with fact that we didn't know how much the food would cost or what activities would be available, we made the only sensible decision we could and elected not to go. Instead we chose to go to the Tulsa Zoo which would cost us far less since we have a family membership there. That means no entrance fee to Mohawk Park and the zoo. We did have to pay for tickets to ride the train (a must after tromping around for several hours in the heat) and a small fee for the merry go round that my son just had to ride. I couldn't deny him this tiny extravagance.

Since we had brought our own water we were not subject to the price gouging that is called buying drinks at the zoo.  The main drawbacks for this visit were that there were quite a few exhibits that were empty and more that had different animals than the ones listed on the signs. Oh and the heat. Did I mention how hot it was? It seemed as if were at least a hundred degrees which was what was in the weather forecast. It turns out that it was one hundred and four degrees in Tulsa today. Honestly there are fewer things I dread more than spending a lot of time marching around in this kind of heat. It's not my idea of fun. Still, the idea was to spend time together as a family, something that has been dreadfully overdue before this summer.

So instead of spending a lot of hours (not to mention an unknown quantity of money) in the heat and company of (mostly) strangers, we traded that for spending a few hours (and dollars) less in the heat with a lot of strangers. At least at the zoo though we were free to go where we wished at our leisure and interact as we saw fit. Personally I don't really care much for the zoo. I think it's sad that these animals are held captive in a usually too small enclosure just for our enjoyment. I'd hate to live a life with that kind of boredom, although some might say that I had already done that in my period of near hermetic seclusion after the failure of my first marriage.

But this is the way things are in the world and the idea was to spend some quality time with the family which was accomplished. The best I can try to do is to educate my son about animals and expose him to other cultures and countries. That way he can make up his mind and think for himself down the road. Right now he just enjoys seeing new things and learning as much as he can. That's the number one thing I can try and instill in him. If I do my job right and am lucky he'll turn out to be a pretty good guy which is the most I can do. I think I'm on the right path. I just pray I can stay there.

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

No comments: