A Day At The Zoo

   Posted by: Michael Bernier   in Today's Reality

Last Sunday afternoon, my wife and I did something we haven’t done in several years – we went to the zoo.

The city of Gainesville, Texas is home to the Frank Buck Zoo, a small facility next door to a large city park just south of the city center. It is named after Frank Buck, a Gainesville native who specialized in collecting wild animals from Africa and putting them on display in zoos and in his own traveling stage show. His catchphrase was “bring ‘em back alive”, which at the time was in sharp contrast to the usual practice of Westerners traveling on safari and killing what they hunted to decorate their walls back home.

Once again, we grabbed my cameras to take a few pictures – my wife with the digital, and me with my trusty 35mm. We entered the park and were greeted by a huge carving depicting several of the animals species that are on display.

Following the carving was the first enclosure, which housed … wait for it … pink flamingoes!

The zoo has changed dramatically since we first visited it almost ten years ago. Back then admission was free and the number of animals on display was very small, consisting mostly of species native to the region such as owls, coyotes, bison, raccoons, roadrunners (yes, they really do exist), and bears. There was a petting area for the kids to visit and interact with goats, sheep, cows, and pigs, as well as a few exotics such as tamarinds and lemurs.

Since then the park has grown to several times its old size, charges a modest admission fee, and includes a large African Savannah enclosure housing zebras, antelopes, ostriches, and the showpiece of the park, a pair of giraffes.

A large elevated walkway was constructed across the savannah partly to give visitors a bird’s eye view of the animals in the enclosure, and partly to allow the giraffes to move from one side to the other without too much difficulty.

The zebras had a young foal scampering about with them.

The giraffes and ostriches, meanwhile, were taking advantage of the tall shaded feeding station to get out of the sun, which made the park extremely hot that afternoon.

Next door to the African exhibit was a small area representing Australia and housing their most famous native species, the red kangaroo. The zebras weren’t the only ones who had a new baby this spring; I caught a view of a female ‘roo with a joey in her pouch.

As I mentioned earlier, it was a very hot day. When we finished our tour and returned to the entrance, my wife couldn’t resist stopping in the gift shop and picking up an ice cream bar.

All in all, it was a very pleasant – if hot – day to go to the zoo. I’m not sure when we might return, and there’s no telling what will change between now and then!

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This entry was posted on Friday, June 4th, 2010 at 8:57 pm and is filed under Today's Reality. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One comment

Jeanne Wheeler

We have gone to this zoo over the years and it just keeps getting better. The improvements are wonderful and make ita better place.

October 18th, 2010 at 2:51 pm

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