Zoo Problems

Thanks to some wonderful church friends who passed some zoo passes along to us this spring, the Faulk Four were able to head out to the Houston Zoo on Wes’s day off last week.  Once upon a time, we were zoo members in Okinawa, then in Oklahoma City, and even in Houston.  We did the zoo a whole lot and loved every moment.  Now that both girls are in school, we don’t go enough to justify the membership, but we’re still thrilled to get passes and go when we can.

We had a great time this past visit, but I felt compelled, at several points, to offer up some observations and advice to random people along the way.  I never did because I don’t want to get beaten up at the zoo (or anywhere else, for that matter), but I thought I could come here and blog about it.  Because it just might serve as a PSA-at-large for all zoo visitors who lack common sense, right?

So, here goes…

1. If your pants don’t cover your butt, be prepared for my precocious seven year old to loudly announce that you are, in fact, “nekkid,” and for my even louder six year old to begin screaming because “I can SEE his UNDERWEARS!”  I don’t know if you’re showing your drawers off in the hopes that some pretty young thing will think you’re the man, but doing this at the zoo will only get you attention from women waaaaaayyyy younger than you want.  Use some common sense when you’re dressing for a child-centered destination.  (And this goes both ways as Ana and Emma are even louder about women, in their unabashedly curious way.  “Am I going to have THOSE one day?!  Are mine going to be that HUGE?!”  Oh, yeah.  This happens.) 

2.  While there is some anonymity in the fact that you’re sitting in a non-descript mommy van like ten thousand other women in the parking lot, I can still see you wildly gesticulating at me as I’m trying to navigate my way around.  And guess what?  All of your rage and simmering doesn’t make my tiny car go any faster.  (And if I’m in a crabby mood, which is likely, given the mess that 610 was on the way over from Pasadena, all that drama you’re producing is going to make me go SLOWER, just to hack you off even further.)  We’ll all end up in the parking lot twelve miles from the entrance anyway, so why are you freaking out?  Girl, you’ve still got a full day of zoo fun with screaming, crying, sweaty children ahead of you.   This?  Parking?  Is the EASY part.  Enjoy the AC while you’ve still got it.

3.  Dear Guy Who Brought $10,000 Camera Equipment and Pushed Children Aside to Take Pictures of the Animals… seriously?  Apart from the fact that you’re acting like you’re on safari to capture animals that are tired, listless, and, oh yeah, in captivity (which is weird enough on its own), you’re also super rude for stepping over children who are just trying to look at the animals.  National Geographic won’t be calling you for those pictures, buddy, so there’s no rush.  Step back, let the kids enjoy, and then get your picture.  Your complete disregard for children reminds me of those creepy dudes at Walt Disney World who stand in line for hours to meet the princesses, pushing little girls out of their way and tempting me to take off my shoe and whack them in the head with it.  Don’t be that guy.  Don’t make me whack you in the head with my shoe.  I don’t want to do it, man.  But I will be FORCED to do it, on behalf of small children everywhere.

4.  You’ve leashed your child for the day, which I can understand, having once been a mother with two under the age of two.  Sometimes a leash (excuse me, super cute backpack with a fun little monkey tail that Mommy can hold onto) is the best idea all around.  But inexplicably, your leashed child is still running free, out in the open, all by himself.  I could kind of understand this if you were the mother of five (God bless you ladies who are) and were totally losing your marbles trying to keep everyone accounted for, but you only have one child… and you can’t keep up with him!  Even though you’ve leashed him!  Perhaps a gurney and medical restraints would work better next time. (I seriously have no suggestions for you.  Getting off your phone would probably be a good start, but I’m as guilty as you when it comes to that, so… who knows?)

5. To the daycare worker who is managing twenty loud, screaming children — I salute you.  I admire you.  I applaud your efforts.  But I’m still going to run the opposite direction when I see you coming.  No offense.  (And wouldn’t we all benefit from a daycare/school group day at the zoo?  So that we would know when to avoid it?  Think about it, Houston Zoo…)

6. Mom who is chatting with her friends just outside the petting zoo — do you see that your child is beating that goat with a brush?  I hesitate to even mention it because goats aren’t stupid and that goat will likely turn right around and get his by biting your kid’s butt before you even figure out what’s happening (which will be goat-tastic!)… but still.  You’re still on parent duty, even in the petting zoo.  ESPECIALLY in the petting zoo.

7.  There’s no need to run my children down with your stroller/wagon as we’re all heading towards the exit in our sweat-drenched, energy-drained death march.  I know your kids are crying and begging for McDonald’s and that you NEED to get out of here.  But one of my kids has logged more mileage on her feet today than she has in the entire past month, and she’s one stroller in the ankles away from flopping onto the ground NBA-charging-foul style and screeching loudly that she is DEAD, yes, DEAD, and that she will NEVER be able to make it to the car, which means I’ll have to carry her, which means that her sister will insist on being carried as well, which means that I’ll essentially be carrying my own body’s weight worth of sweaty, nasty, dragon breathed children towards the exit, which means that I will likely be DEAD soon, yes, DEAD soon, and then, you’ll have the guilt of having killed me on your conscience for the rest of the day.  DON’T do that to yourself, please.  Don’t run your stroller/wagon into my kid and start that whole horrible process.  Let’s just continue our death march with no one touching anyone, okay? 

Hope your next zoo trip is memorable, friends…

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