Tag Archives: Gorillas

Rex with Gorilla

Every Day an Adventure – Experiencing the Zoo

Do your kids ask and ask (and ask) to go to the zoo? Do you find yourself thinking, “Why? We just went to the zoo last week; how can they possibly be ready to go again?” Well, my friends, last week I had the reminder that no two visits to the zoo are ever the same.

For starters, because it was so unbelievably hot, the animals were doing what they could to stay cool. For some, like this Jaguar, that meant taking a nap beside the glass because the air conditioning seeps around the edges.

For others, it meant lying back in the shade by the “river”.

Bonobo mother nursing her baby

But, for this magnificent gorilla, it meant sitting with his back to the cool stone of the enclosure {while also giving us his photogenic side}.

The glare is bad, but you’re looking at 2 Silverback Gorillas

But, to be quite honest, he was just a little too close for comfort for me, and I was ready to move on. So, we went to the overlook portion where we could still see the gorillas but just not so closely. As we look over, Mr. Gorilla is now up on all fours staring at the people on the other side of the glass head on. {Sorry, no picture of this one as I was super freaked out by this time.} And, then all of sudden, he lunged at the glass and banged on it with his fists – just once – but let me tell you what an impact that made on me!

I couldn’t get away from the gorilla enclosure fast enough – I was totally freaked. Both Monkey and Rex were chattering back and forth trying to talk about what had just happened, but finally I had to tell them that I just needed them to be quiet for a few minutes so that I could slow my heart rate.

When I could finally breathe again, I asked Rex what he had been wanting to tell us about why the gorilla behaved that way. He said, “Oh, the people on the other side of the glass were probably smiling and waving  – like this…” {and then he proceeded to demonstrate}

Rex smiling and waving {albeit not at the zoo}

And, then he continued, “And, in the wild, bearing your teeth is a sign of aggression and waving your arms is a way to make yourself look bigger, so the gorilla was just scared and he wanted them to back away.” To which I replied, “Which made the smiles go away, so the problem was solved.” And, in his matter of fact way, he stated, “Right.”

Later on, I mentioned to a zookeeper about the frightening experience, and she said, “Oh, he’s a big softie; he just wanted to play.” And, as we walked away, I told Rex that I found his explanation much more plausible. {Seems that the Twycross zookeepers may be of the same opinion.}

So, while a little scary, I definitely appreciated the reminder that I am so blessed that no two days are ever the same – even if both of those days involve melting at the zoo.

What are some of your favorite experiences at the zoo? I would love to hear about them in the comments!