Ever since my trip to Thailand I am fascinated with elephants. I have always loved animals actually. As a kid I marched around the neighborhood putting flyers in all the neighbor’s mailboxes that said “Would you kill Flipper for a tunafish sandwich?” Flipper was a famous dolphin who had his own t.v. show and dolphins were being caught in tuna nets. It was the 70’s and I was an activist at age 11 for the Friends of Animals group and they sent me lots of materials to share with others.
Some places that keep animals in containment can actually be beneficial. The animals are often rescued and unable to go back into the wild or humans are helping to increase the population of endangered species. Some places are not so decent. Elephant trekking in Asian countries have been reported to abuse the elephants and Tiger Kingdom where people pose with wild tigers who are so drugged up that they do not care can not be normal behavior.
It has been 14 months now since I became a widow and my grief therapist suggested I look on line for “meets ups” with people interested in meeting and doing the same types of things that I like to do. I went on line and selected outdoor adventures and a few other things. Each week people from your interest group email you new places and events to attend. I decided to sign up for a trip to go on a guided tour of the endangered species at the Bronx Zoo.
It was a beautiful fall Sunday so I had no excuse to stay home. I turned on my maps app to drive the 37 miles to the Bronx Zoo from my home. It took me a little longer to get there than I had anticipated so I needed to text the coordinator to let him know I would be there soon. I arrived and there was a small group assembled outside the gate. I introduced myself to the man with the name tags and wrote my name on a tag.
We had a group of about 10 people start on the tour. The first stop was at the Pere David Deer exhibit. The Pere David deer is from China and looks like an elk. It is extinct in the wild but thriving here at the zoo. Next stop was the Okapi and the Giraffes. Love how elegant and graceful they are.
We saw a grizzly bear and a polar bear playing outside.
The elephants and tigers were only visible from the monorail and unfortunately the monorail closes from October to March. However, the children visiting the zoo got in free if they dressed up so we did see many children in adorable costumes and some even had fabulous painted faces.
The highlight of the day was visiting the Gorillas. We were the ones in the cage; behind the glass. I could literally sit and watch them all day. There was the one big male silverback gorilla. He seems to have quite a large family and a lot of offspring playing outside and fooling around. There were little bitty babies hanging on their moms one second, and then hanging upside down off a branch the next. This is when excellent photo taking skills would have been handy, or at least a better camera with a zoom lense.
Well, the point of the day was to go out and do something on my own. I didn’t need to bring a friend with me to have a nice time. I could still behave like I was traveling in some far off country. I don’t have time or the money to take off for 3 weeks right now. But I don’t have to spend every weekend watching t.v. or doing chores either.
I will continue to look for adventures, big and small. The loss of my husband has affected my life immensely. I have been trying hard not to wallow in grief but to try and move forward and find interesting things to do.
I always learn something on these travel adventures, no matter how large. This time my phone died from taking videos and photos of the animals. When I got to the parking lot, I wasn’t sure how to get home. The GPS had helped to get me there, but how do I get home? Luckily I learned how to read so I was able to take advantage of the signs on the highway from the Bronx until I found the roads I recognized to get me home. Next adventure I’ll be sure to bring a car charger.