When Zoo Life Mirrors Home Life


What do you do with two stir-crazy three-year-olds on a January Saturday? When it’s 70 degrees in the Bay Area, you take them to the zoo.

(All the while singing the “Love You Forever” because sometimes you think your toddler belongs in the zoo.)

Search and Destroy love the zoo. They’ve been to many – Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Barbara (and we’re heading to San Diego this summer). I always thought it was an educational experience.

Turns out – the animals there are just a reflection of who we are at home.

The first animal enclosure is always one of the highlights – it’s the giraffes. Awkward, gangly, and always chewing on something they shouldn’t be, our long-necked spotted mammals have been a fan favorite since a stuffed replica sat within the Giraffe Omnibed incubator that housed our two tiny twins.

On this particular adventure, each boy was treated to his very own zoo map. The zoo directory is adorned with the adorable face of the newest member of the gorilla family – approximately toddler age.


The Western Lowland Gorillas were lazing about. The Silverback alpha male sat watch over his compound. There wasn’t much action. Until there was a kerfuffle in the doorway to the gorilla house, and our toddler primate came skittering out. He made his way around the perimeter of the enclosure, zig-zagging around the rocks and trees.

Suddenly a handful of grass went flying through the air. The little one was taking on the big guy! Our little gorilla friend fled the scene rapidly, screeching with delight; the Silverback exasperatedly made his way after him.

Apparently toddler primates are just as frustrating as human toddlers.

Given Destroy’s climbing proclivities, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that we often call our progeny monkeys. So after ensuring that the wee gorilla wasn’t in too much trouble, we headed over to visit the rest of the primates who were on high alert in the afternoon flinging themselves about from branch to branch.

The two howler monkeys were having quite the conversation. A fellow patron declared to the plaza at large, “He’s obviously horny. That’s just how I sound at home.”

Time to move on.


Search gave a wary appraisal to the brilliantly blue and teal peacock that blocked our exit – strutting and preening its way nonchalantly across the open area. It wasn’t an exhibit. Just strutting its stuff around like it owned the place. The two circled a large planter, never taking their eyes off the other. Not even when another toddler was scooped up by a parent just before reaching out to grab one of those mesmerizing peacock feathers.

Lions and tigers (bears came later, oh my) are always a big hit. Admirers straining to see the lump curled up near a tree. What’s that? The Big Cats acting like…well, cats? This is why I’m a dog person.

As we headed over to get our fill of grizzlies and polars, we passed a group of young adolescent men clustered around a large window.

“Whoa! That is like the biggest bird I’ve ever seen!” they marveled.

I looked at the informational sign. “Giant Anteater.”

I’m glad we decided upon a membership to the zoo. Looks like we’re going to really pay attention to making these visits an educational experience.


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