Yesterday we went to the Zoo. There weren’t may photos taken there because I couldn’t bring myself to take any. Almost immediately, the kids recognized a difference in the zoo they are accustomed to compared to the zoo that we visited. Without prompting or any other adult intervention or persuasion, these are statements the two older kids made:
“The animals look so unhappy here, mom”
“Why are their cages so tiny?”
“This zoo isn’t very nice. I want to leave- it makes me sad.”
These are the words out of the mouths of babes…..And yet, they were right. The animal habitats seemed lacking. The exhibits weren’t well put together or thought out.
As the adults in charge, we tried to make the most of a bad situation and used this place, this experience, as a teachable moment about animals in captivity. We talked about both the good things zoos allow for and the bad side of animals in captivity. We asked comparative questions so that they could start to identify what things make for a good zoo. We tried to see as much as we could, but when you have empathetic kids, such as ours, who feel so deeply, the visit became unbearable. Upon leaving, they requested to return home to attend their regular zoo.
This place isn’t on one of our favorite places in South Florida list. In fact, even if we live here for the rest of their childhoods, we will not return.