The LA Zoo is a really fun place to spend Thanksgiving morning. It’s not very crowded, it’s cool enough for all the animals to be in the outdoor portions of their habitats (vs. summertime, when they chill out inside), and the foliage is turning red and gold (yes, we do get fall here in LA, it’s just later than back East).
There are some animals I adore seeing, like the orangutans (in an amazing habitat and now with a new little baby), the cats (lions, tigers, and jaguars, oh my), and a new favorite, the siamangs. The latter are in the ape family, weigh only about 30 pounds each, and sound like The Three Stooges. They have an amazing vocal volume and, on this visit, were clinging to their cage bars doing their version of “Nya. Nya. Nya, nya, nya, nya!” Believe me, Moe, Larry, and Curly had nothing on them.
A particular favorite — thanks to this last visit — are the elephants. Now remember, I speak city — I’m a city girl — and to me, elephants have always been “smell-ephants.” But this time, they truly rose on my fondness meter.
We watched elephant Billy being groomed, being fed, and — now this is adorable, even on an elephant — being tickled. His keeper would tickle him right behind his ear, and Billy giggled. Okay, it was an elephant giggle, but it was so incongruous with his immense size that you had to love it. All in all, one of nature’s awesome surprises.
I guess that sometimes you need to take the girl out of the city to stop and smell the roses. And the elephants.
© 2012 Claudia Grossman