Last, but not least, we made it to Zoo Atlanta on our recent trip. I’d heard good things about their great panda program, and then we read “The One and Only Ivan” by K. A. Applegate together and found out that the real Ivan spent the last 18 years of his life at Zoo Atlanta, and we had to go. The zoo has a large (the largest?) number of western lowland gorillas in North America and what seemed like incredibly large and lush habitats. (Also, apparently this is where Dwayne Johnson did research for Rampage, and has since adopted a bachelor male, calling him Dwayne Jr. I am sad to report I didn’t see either Dwayne.)
Amongst the four of us, almost every animal in the zoo was a priority to see, so we waded through all the school groups, refueled with Dippin’ Dots when necesssary, and took in as much as we could.
Something I’ve been looking forward to was seeing the great pandas. I know some people who are vehemently opposed to zoos, and I see their point when we look at history. I also appreciate the focus on conservation modern zoos, especially Zoo Atlanta, have adopted. Zoos are now key to species preservation for so many. Plus…..it gives so many people the chance to see just how large and amazing this world is. And whether pandas are really as dumb as rocks, or not.
You’ll have to go decide for yourselves.
Here are some of our other favorites:
After the raccoon-dog encounter, we ran across another shaggy, grizzled animal we’ve never heard of before lounging in a hammock. If the Wild Kratts haven’t told me about it, I’d be pretty sure we’re just making stuff up now. Look at this guy, a binturong. Now before you claim him as your ‘spirit animal’ just know that I’ve already claimed this particular one, so go find your own.
We saw all we could handle, leaving out maybe a quarter of the zoo (and forgetting to photograph any of the elephants). We’ll have to go back some day. Other amazing encounters: