Monday, August 15, 2016

Wandering Toes: The Return to Riverbanks Zoo

In totally simple terms which are easy to understand this weekend sucked. It was a dizzying array of chores, many taking place outside in the soul sucking heat, that had me once again cursing my suburban serfdom. Here are a few pictures of a relatively recent visit to Riverbanks Zoo, one of the few jewels here in the Midlands of South Carolina. For years my family and I were members of the zoo society and came at least two or even three times a month to walk among the animals. We only stopped being members after my daughter got bored and developed her own weekend activities with her friends. This picture is of the new entrance to the zoo. I've never been a big admirer of architectural designs but I actually liked how they opened the space up allowing both those coming in and leaving easy access.

Yes, I know keeping large animals who roam considerable distances in the wild inside small enclosures is problematic. But the new grizzly space is a huge improvement over the previous living enclosure. I'm no bear expert, not by a long shot, but at least this guy seemed happy given how he kept playing in the water. 
I just liked this shot of these two napping.
If there is one exhibit that really bothers me it is the elephant enclosure, I don't feel it's big enough but at least these guys have each other. One of the saddest pictures I ever saw was of a single elephant in a small zoo that was so lonely it made a habit of holding its own tail. 

My affinity for our primate kinfolk only grows as I watch the American political process devolve at warp speed.  
Is it me or does this guy actually seem to be smiling? This is one of the Galápagos tortoises living at the zoo.

Here is a little piece of valuable information for anyone visiting Riverbanks during the summer. As of this posting, if you need to take a break from the heat head straight to the inside portion of the new sea lion exhibit. I was positively cold after being inside for five minutes. I can't say enough kind things about Riverbanks Zoo, yes, there are real issues with keeping animals enclosed. But with our little planet going to see up to nine billions humans living on it in the coming decades, zoos will become less about entertaining us and more about preserving something of creatures that evolved beside us hairless and supremely arrogant primates.  


Nasreen Iqbal said...

Good pictures.

I am torn when it comes to zoos as well. On the one hand, they ought to be free. On the other hand, being free as thing currently stand on Planet Earth probably means being free to be hit by a car or shot by a poacher of some variety.

Whereas being in a zoo could very well get some kid interested enough that he tried to save the animals.

MigratingSpirit said...

I am emotional tonight so as soon as I saw the piccie of the elephants I cried.

Pixel Peeper said...

We were never members of the zoo, but we went maybe once or twice a year. I agree, it's one of the best things in Columbia. Some big changes, judging from your photos. The entrance looks totally different.

I have a feeling that's the same gopher tortoise that I took pictures of about 10 years ago!

sage said...

It's been a while since I have been in a zoo, but the last time it (in Salt Lake with my daughter) it was so hot I wanted to climb in with the bears and see if they'd share their pool. Then my daughter (who leaves for college this weekend but was about 4 at the time) lost her lunch all over me. I ended up with a zoo shirt as we had extra clothes for her but not me! I'm pretty sure it will be the only zoo shirt that I will ever own.

The Bug said...

I feel conflicted about zoos too - but Nasreen is probably right about how being "free" isn't all it's cracked up to be... Cincinnati has a GREAT zoo, but of course even there, there is controversy.

Akelamalu said...

When I was about 12 years old I used to take my middle brother (age 7) on quite a long bus ride every Sunday to the zoo, we both loved it.