Meerkats at the LA Zoo 2
“We’ll add those to your wish list,” my little boy told me at the meerkat exhibit. “Which one do you want? This one or that one?”

Sometimes he talks in sentences he wants me to say.

Zoo swans 1
They were cleaning the swan pond in the morning. The swans were in dog crates and the water was gone.

Zoo swans 3

Later in the day, the water looked like sea glass. This green is my favorite color.

The big animals make me feel guilty and anxious and sad. Like they shouldn’t be there. Like it’s all wrong. The pacing tiger, the Asian elephant bobbing his head and rocking over and over, the big monkeys trying to hide under tarps or sitting with their backs to the glass.

But the smaller animals are so interesting, and plants are growing everywhere, and then there’s the aviary.

LA Zoo aviary
I remember when my mom used to take me and my brother and sisters to the zoo when we were little. You walked through the two sets of doors, and birds would be flying overhead, chirping and making noise. Sometimes they’d land right by you. And all that green. It felt magical. It still does. This visit a strange duck stood on a ledge looked us in the eye from about two feet away.

Five hours at the zoo. Four and three quarters, to be exact. So exhausting. So much fun. Photo booth pictures. Shuttle rides. (It won’t blast off. It’s like a train, but with wheels.) Birds, ducks, swans, flamingos, turtles and a Gray’s monitor walking right up to us and looking at us through the glass. A hamburger, pizza, a giant chocolate chip cookie. And a cheap toy on the way out.