I used to go to the zoo a lot when I was a kid. And even though I loved the idea of an outing, like all kids do, I didn’t like the zoo. Animals were kept in really small cages, and I’d spend the entire day feeling bad for them.
Animals in the St Louis Zoo aren’t kept in cages, as we discovered on our first visit today. We’d been wanting to go for a while but it was always way too hot to take a toddler. Today was the first day all summer when you can be outside for over 3 minutes without fainting, so we went. The goal was to find elephants because Klara wanted to show them her favorite toy elephant.
The elephants turned out to be a lot smaller than I remembered from the Ukrainian zoo. Is it a different kind of elephant or do I remember it as enormous because I was a child and it looked bigger?
There was also a kid railroad, and we had to go because Klara is massively into trains. The kid railroad is a lot worse than the one we have back in Kharkiv and even than the toddler railroad in Southwest Florida. The train spends so much time in tunnels that it’s more like a subway. Klara didn’t even want to make more than one trip, and usually it takes at least 3 trips to make her happy.
The best part of the experience for me was that I found cotton candy, which I haven’t had for over 30 years. Everything at the zoo is extremely well-organized. Nobody organizes kid-friendly experiences like Americans. Even Canadians don’t do it quite as well. But there were way too many people for me to enjoy the whole thing. In our town, I’m never surrounded by this many people. I used to love being in a crowd in a big city but after 15 years in sparsely populated tiny towns, I lost both the skill and the enjoyment.
So now I need to stay in bed for 2 hours, read Vargas Llosa, and eat cherries to recover.