San Francisco, CA: Zoo!

This is one day late, but yesterday I visited the San Francisco Zoo, which is free on the first Wednesday of every month.

The SF Zoo is fantastic! I started with the African Trail, touring the land of giraffes, zebras and ostrichs.

Then came a personal favorite: gorillas and chimps!! I don’t know why, but I love watching these guys. It might be how similar their behavior is to ours or how they seem to really enjoy walking around without any pants (who wouldn’t?), but they just crack me up. By the way, did you know the latin name for the Western Lowland Gorilla is gorilla gorilla gorilla? Here’s our boy:

Note that “plumber’s crack” can translate to the primate world, too. OK, for his sake, I’ll give you a better shot:

C’mon, just say it once … “Grape …”?, “Grape … “?? OK, I’ll do it, Grrrrape Ape. Next came the chimps — they were awesome. My favorite was the one in the picture below. I named him Norm, since the way he looked is how I imagine Norm looks after a night at the Cheers bar:

He was under that blanket the entire time, occasionally tossing and turning; must’ve been a rough night. The other guys were equally hungover, just lying around. I thought I’d come back later and check up on ’em.

Although it was a beautiful day and the zoo grounds provided a really enjoyable walk, it was tough getting by the obnoxious schoolkids, dirty hippies, creepy guys. But, at 2:00, all that went out the window as I was captivated by an attraction at the Lion House: feeding time! I was hoping they’d release some of the aforementioned riff-raff onto the grounds and let the animals get some “exercise”, but they just brought around pieces of meat and tossed them through the gates.

Watching the male step through the door and into the feeding cage was incredible. The guy is HUGE. He even let out a couple roars which quickly shut up the annoying crowd for a second or two. Along with the lions and lioness’ were the tigers. The male Siberian tiger was very impressive. The picture below does no justice to his size and strength.

I won’t take you through all the exhibits I saw, but the rest of the visit included bears, koalas (one of them was sleeping in a tree, the other stubbornly had his back turned … while also sleeping), kangaroos, an anteater, rhinos, hippos (one of which, by the way, decided to take an enormous two-sie with his back facing a crowd of children — really funny stuff), flamingoes, pelicans, leopards, and …

Peacocks. But the strange thing was that the peacocks weren’t in an enclosure with names, backstories, information cards, etc. — all the things you expect to come with zoo animals. They were just roaming around. In fact, I had just left the Lion House and was walking towards the koalas when one of them sidled right up to me. Later, I had to walk around one that was headed straight for me.

Before I left, I went back to the chimps to see how they were feeling. Norm had woken up and assumed post on the second level of the structure. He looked like he just got done smoking a cigarette. And wouldn’t you know it, he got a new blanket!

Check out the zoo pics here. I also took some movies of the lions feeding and when I find an appopriate place online to post them, I’ll let you know. Unfortunately, in all my infinite clumsiness, I changed the quality of my camera from Normal to Economy (instead of Fine, which is what I was going for), so the pics and videos aren’t all they could be. Stay tuned (for like an hour, I’m about to write the next post) for pictures from my mission to the In-N-Out at Fisherman’s Wharf.

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