Thursday, June 01, 2006

Zoo Re-do

Off we went to Central Park for the great zoo re-do.

M led the way, taking me on a grand tour of the petite Central Park Zoo. First she escorted me to the sea lions in the middle of the zoo, then to the chilly and refreshing penguin and puffin house to the north, then around a path to watch the polar bears snoozing and swimming, arriving to the rainforest exhibit complete with assorted tamarins, snakes of all sorts, and one awful looking tarantula, and finally off to the petting zoo to feed the sheep and goats and cows.

The penguin and puffin grotto is dark and cool.
We made several visits to cool off.

What was especially nice is that I'd never been there. Never visited the little zoo made famous by the animated feature Madagascar. Never ventured through the gates. That probably seems odd for the parent of an eight-year-old who has been living in the city since her birth. I'm not much of a zoo fan.

Some people loathe zoos because they're unkind — inhumane — to the animals they house. And while I can see their point, I'm not just not that empathetic with our fellow creatures. I just find zoos mostly hot, and stinky, and too big, and overwhelming, and well — dysregulating.

Sweet M didn't want to get sheep slobber on her hand,

so she used the zoo map as a feed spoon.

But not so with the sweet little Central Park Zoo on a school day mid-afternoon. The scale is delicious — you can see the whole zoo in an hour or two, never worrying about what you might have missed. You can linger in the penguin grotto confident that you're not missing out on some monkey exhibit or elephant show. It's well edited. And I was, fortunately, in the company of an excellent zoo tour guide.

And to top it off, it's sprinkled with quotations from poets embedded throughout the walks. (I took a picture of this one — from Sappho on the back of a park bench — in honor of fellow autism blogger and classicist Kristina Chew.)

I guess these quotes are there for folks like me, who'd usually rather be reading a book . . .

The Sappho fragment reads —
Evening star who gathers everything
Shining dawn shattered —
You bring the sheep and the goats
You bring the child back to its mother.
It was that kind of day at Autism's Edges.



kristina said...

And you bring the hope and poetry back to us all!

Sharon McDaid said...

You went to the zoo, while we went to the farm, and we both mention Kristina and the classics!
I'm glad it was a fun day.