Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com

Monday, May 21, 2007

Finding a Zoo's Niche

What do you get when two giraffes collide? A giraffic jam.

Go ahead and groan all you want, but hanging out with these giraffes was pretty cool. They are beautiful animals and very soft behind the ears.

A zoo is a zoo right? They all have animals in cages and they all put up some kind of "save the animals" sign. But if you hang out long enough you'll quickly realize that most zoos have given themselves some kind of niche. There is something special about them, regardless of how big or small they might be.

Since my oldest son loves animals, I've spent many hours in zoos so I consider myself to be somewhat of an expert on this topic. For example, the Tulsa zoo had these lions that would frequently roar. Every zoo has lions, but these lions opened up and let go with a chest rattling roar. Sometimes we'd go for a few hours and just sit, watch and listen the lions and do nothing else.

The Omaha zoo has the aquarium with the peanut butter fish. No not really, but after walking through the entire aquarium you see a huge glass pillar filled with live jelly fish. Next to it is another glass pillar filled with some other kind of fish my son called peanut butter fish. He explained that if these are jelly fish, those must be the peanut butter fish.

Well in Colorado Springs, the niche is the giraffes. They stand in a sunken in area with bridges and decks that surround it, which puts you at head height with the giraffes. Then for a few bucks you get some crackers that you get to feed to them. The interaction is the niche here. You can touch and be touched by the giraffes up close and personal. Watch out though. If your personality is like mine, and you enjoy teasing people and animals they might try for some revenge and try removing your backpack when you're not looking.
The best however, was when our son in that gentle quiet voice, screams "EEEWWWW, those giraffes are french kissing!" At which time I felt like hiding in my back pack and hoping the giraffes would haul me off.