Friday, March 11, 2011

#161: The L.A. Zoo

"Oh, it's depressing." "The last time I went there, it was pretty lame." "The animals looked so bored." were some of the comments I got when I said I was gonna check out the L.A. Zoo in Griffith Park. Honestly, I have no idea why it took me this long to check out the zoo--it wasn't nearly as bad as people made it out to be! The only annoying thing about it was how crowded it was. Granted, we went on a Saturday at 2 pm.

Tickets to the zoo are
$14 for adults. Parking is free, and we found a spot quickly even though the lot looked pretty full. Our friend Ron and the coolest little boy in the world Vincent met us at the gate, and we went off on a safari hunt.

two men and a baby

My favorites were the ape exhibits. The chimps were really fun to watch. As they groomed and greeted each other, I got to witness first hand how similarly complex our social structures are. At one point the dominant male started showing off his strength and all of the other chimps shrieked at a deafening volume and jumped around. Some other males tried to challenge him, but his final display of knocking over a wheelbarrow made him the clear winner. This was more entertaining than Jersey Shore.

chimps: so like us

The orangutans were the most affectionate of the apes. We "awwwed" as a mother put her arm around her child and embraced him in a tender hug.

mother and child

We were told by a guide that one of the orangutans had cerebral palsy and could only roll from place to place. We watched as the male gently rolled her around the enclosure, groomed her fur, and cleaned her teeth. It was heartbreaking.

male cleaning the teeth of the female ape with cerebral palsy

I have mixed feelings about zoos, but overall I had a great time. If it's been a while since you've visited the L.A. zoo, it might be time for another trip--you'll be pleasantly surprised.

The L.A. Zoo

a grooming party

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