It’s the monkey that got everyone’s attention. The gloomy look on his face and the crossed arms were pathetic as he sat there and observed us from the other side of the glass.
Today is a different day. All of our friends are sitting at school, thinking of what they wish they were doing instead of spending six hours on the usual routine. Today is field trip day!
We meet in the den at 8am. HHS Environmental Science classes are heading to the zoo. The look of joy and giddy excitement reminds me of first grade field trips to the same place. The arrival of the bus brings another wave of excitement and it’s surreal until we actually see the ticket booth reading “Welcome to the Oregon Zoo”.
The next attraction was the polar bear. I remember seeing one as a kid. It’s not as big anymore. Why don’t they have a big one?! The baby elephant was the all-time high of the day for everyone. It was so cute to see the mom caring for it and protecting it from the bullying males. But even the elephants aren’t as big as they used to be.
My favorite animal in the whole world is coming up…the rhino! I look over the edge of the embankment and there he is- a fully armored tank of a cow equipped with horns. They can’t see very far. I remember my mom explaining that to me the first time I saw one. I was homeschooled throughout elementary and middle school. The most important thing to me was finishing my schoolwork faster than the scheduled time so I could go on field trips. It was entertaining having my mom as a teacher. My favorite weekly activity was the zoo trip…it was on the same day every week; probably for the homeschooler discount.
I used to love the zoo because of my new found favorite food… elephant ears. That is, until I saw the mystical beast by the name of “rhino”. What on earth was a giant armadillo with horns doing in this exhibit!? It’s freaking awesome! After that it was over. From that day on the majestic rhino was the reason I went to the zoo, with a warm sugary elephant ear in my hands of course.
That reminds me, what happened to the colossal giant of a rhino they used to have?! After watching my high school AP classmates scamper around like kindergarteners all day, I realized; it’s not animals that have gotten smaller- it’s that we’ve gotten bigger, but that doesn’t mean we’re fully grown.