One of life’s many dilemmas

11 09 2009

Dilemma: I want to write a blog post.

Problem: We spent the day at another animal-themed entertainment venue. I do not want this to become a zoo blog.

Plus side: It was an aquarium this time, and not a zoo.

Down side: Why is my life so animal centric right now?

Solution: Mention the problem, and write a blog post anyway because guess what, intended audience, if you do not have as much interest in zoos as I do, then you do not have enough interest in me to read this anyway.

I will save the in depth analysis for a later time, but highlights:

1. INTERACTIVE ZOOTIVITIES – the ability to touch (with 2 fingers only, it was very important that it was 2 fingers only) all of these things: prawn, starfish, sea cucumber, sea anemone, shark, jellyfish, stingray.

2. SHARK TUNNEL – “Wow, I’m walking through a tunnel and OH MAN THERE ARE 27 SHARKS SWIMMING ABOVE ME WHOA.”

3. HIPPO BEDTIME – the aquarium closed at 5 pm. At 4:45 pm, you could go to the hippo enclosure and witness “hippo bedtime”, which did not involve any night caps, unfortch. It did include the secret door opening up that the hippos walked into, and then the secret door closing. The hippos were so well-trained that they got out of the water around 4:40 and went to stand at the door. One of the hippos even put his head on the door like he was yelling to be let in. When it got to be 4:47, the hippos must have decided that they read their hippo watches wrong and got back into their water. But at 4:50, they decided no fucking way, their watches were right, they just wound them this morning, it’s the goddamn zookeepers who’s watches are wrong and how long does a hippo have to wait to go to their m-effing bedtime OH, there’s the door. Okay, good night. In a word – ADORABLE.

Maybe I will have more to say about the Camden Aquarium soon. Maybe I’m tired of talking about zoos and zoo-like places. Maybe I will make up for my quaint existence of the last week by doing un-zoo-like activities at the annual “Drink Us Dry” night here – the last night that most bars are open for the season on the island. Since I guess alcohol goes bad (or they think it does which I don’t mind them thinking) they challenge you to drink it all up for super cheap so they can close for the year. Drink us dry? Yes, sir.

——

What is the slogan for the Camden Aquarium?

Answer: “A Significantly Lower Risk of Gunshot Injury than Camden in General.”

Alternatives: “Get Shot! Like, cool shots with your camera.” “Our Sharks are Crips.” “Put Your Fingers on Some Wildlife, Bitch.”

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Putting the “I guess…” in “Guestimation.”

8 09 2009

Based on these two descriptions, which one would you think is the better zoo?

Zoo #1: The Cohanzick Zoo was the first zoo in New Jersey, established in Bridgeton City Park in 1934. The zoo has more than 200 birds and mammals from around the world and emphasizes the fauna of Asia and South America, including monkeys, bears, big cats, crocodiles, and snakes. A favorite for visitors is the White Tiger exhibit. Admission is free.

or

Zoo #2: The Cape May County Zoo, a wooded park area off Exit 11 of the Garden State Parkway on Route 9, is home to nearly 200 different species of mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles. Special exhibits include the World of Birds, Reptile and Amphibian House and an African Savanna. The large park area includes pavilions. a spacious playground area and biking trails.

On the one hand, the first zoo description only says “200 birds/mammals” as opposed to species, meaning they are probably counting individual animals here. But the second zoo description seems to be mostly about the park surrounding the zoo instead of the zoo itself. So, if you are like me, you would assume that the first zoo in New Jersey was definitely the better pick.

You would be WRONG.

What the brochure fails to mention is that of those 200 birds/mammals, they must be counting the hundred plus Canadian geese that have taken up residency in their alleged zoo. Once again, proof that the zoo businessmen of South Jersey need to put on their logic caps and keep the regular animals out of the actual animals’ exhibits. The brochure also fails to mention the extremely sad FAQ signs that greet you at the entrance to the zoo, posted on the glass of an empty cage.

FAQ 1: Where are all of your animals?

Answer: Animals get old & die. This year has been particularly rough, as we have lost 2 ocelots, several monkeys, and both of our reindeer.

FAQ 2: Can’t you get replacement animals?

Answer: It is harder to get animals that are suited for our enclosures than you think. It is too hard to transport animals in the summer because it is so hot they often die.

FAQ 3: Why don’t you build some more exhibits?

Answer: If you have $100,000 that you no longer need, we would be happy to build new exhibits.

All of these signs could have been condensed into a single sign:

“Dear Zoo-Goers:

FUCK YOU.

– Mgmt.”

Although I applaud their honesty, it really drew attention to the sad state of affairs at New Jersey’s first zoo. They need a little old man at the entrance to guilt people into making donations, like the Cape May County Zoo did. That is where the real money is.

Still, there were about 30 animals there (not counting dumb geese, ducks, and even more free-range peafowl) that were relatively cool. They had a white tiger. The signs claimed there were two, but I only saw one and given the tone of the other signs, I am more inclined to trust my eyes than theirs. They had a funny looking little bear. They had a mountain lion/big cat of some sort. Sadly, these animals were all super bored and took to pacing around, trying to coax the dumb geese and ducks to get close enough to eat.

A mom and little girl were feeding bread to all of the geese, ducks, and swans as we walked around. Thus, we had a herd of fowl following us around. And by following, I mean coming within inches of us. If I thought that birds had noses, I swear they would have been all up in our biz, sniffing us up and down like a dog when you smell like another dog. It was insane. And made me wish I had bread of my own so I could have captured one and taken it home.

The bird I most wanted to capture was this weird hybrid chicken/duck. We took to calling them chucks. It had all the coloring of a regular farm chicken, but webbed feet and weird skin stuff on their beaks like ducks. They were ridiculous and loved people and seriously wagged their tails at you. So, despite the extremely misleading advertising, I believe this trip was worthwhile because of my introduction to chucks.

Pictures will be forthcoming, I hope.

Additionally, we ate dinner at a bar with no name, no windows, no easily recognizable front door, that had been recommended to my dad by one of his fraternity brothers. Upon entering, this conversation occurred:

Dad: There’s blood on your stairs.

“Cosmo” the Bartender: Those stairs? No, that’s paint.

Dad: No, those stairs.

Cosmo: Oh, those stairs? Yeah, that’s blood.

Needless to say, dinner was delish.

——

What is an alternate name for the Cohanzick Zoo?

ANSWER: ZOOP

Alternate answers: “False advertising”, Oh Man’s Sick Zoo, Sadness.





How we are spending our cloudy day at the shore.

8 09 2009

Besides going to another FREE ZOO (this one has more than 200 species, as opposed to nearly 200 species. A difference of at least 3 species, who’s excited?) Paul and I are also starting a fan fiction story about our own fictional lives. Because we are fans of ourselves.

Read the first installment here: pruse.wordpress.com

And prepare yourself for the next installment, coming shortly after the Cohanzick Zoo extravaganza.





A Day at the Cape May County Zoo

4 09 2009

Today, on the first full day of Shore Time Extravaganza, Telly and I decided to expand our minds, improve our lives, and generally enjoy some wilderness by visiting the Cape May County Zoo. This was also an attempt to improve our life-ruining karma and counteract whatever immoral acts may occur in Atlantic City tonight. (Hookers? Still illegal, unfortch.)

I haven’t been to a zoo in several years, but I was impressed that a small, donation-based zoo had some pretty sweet animals. Notent notables:

– Lion
– Tiger
– Zebras
– Giraffes
– Red Panda
– Ocelot

Zoo staples that were mysteriously absent, possibly eaten by other zoo animals:

– Orangutans
– Spider monkeys
– Polar brrrs
– Penguins
– Prairie dogs

It was a really nice zoo, all things considered, even though I felt bad that most of the animals did not have animal buds to keep them company. Perhaps that was what the suggested donations were for: “Do you have a couple bucks? We’re trying to find a roommate for our Lion.” How boring to be an animal with literally nothing else going on in your cage. The lemurs had buds. The black bear had buds. But only one lion, one tiger, one red panda. I mean geez, you have three alligators and they probably either hate each other or don’t even realize that they are with other alligators and not just a couple of bumpy logs. Why don’t you trade some of your dumber animals (why does every zoo in New Jersey think that they need a “white tailed deer” exhibit? It’s called “my backyard”) and get cagemates for the guys who live in packs in the wild? An extra lion is probably equal to your entire duck pond and a couple of extra sea turtles.

I was nearly struck blind with cuteness when I realized how many types of animals like to spoon. Black bears spooning? Adorable. Lemurs spooning ON A TIGHT ROPE? Dangerously adorable. Gigantic turtles necking? BLEEEHHHHH I just threw up from adorableness. Not as cute? Snakes cuddling. That’s just lazy.

The zoo also featured many, many birds that were allowed to leave their enclosures and walk around. Maybe not a great business plan to let animals in AND out of your zoo. Have you learned nothing from Night at the Museum? You are inviting chaos into your zoo. The guineafowl and peafowl exhibit featured more seagulls than peacocks. Seagulls, you were not invited to be in the zoo. You have no business trying to strut your stuff next to a majestic peacock. Pack your crap and get the heck out. There were squirrels running in and out of the parrot cages, picking up extra parrot food. A chicken had escaped and was chilling out with the goats. I think a fairly important part of any zoo is organization. What does it say about you, the zoo, when you let ducks and seagulls do whatever they want? It says that you are letting the animals control you. Cape May County, you need to man up. Tell those birds they can stay in their own houses, or they can rent elsewhere. Separate but equal, y’all.

Also, the roaming guineafowl and peafowl posed a serious threat to our dear friend Telly, previously traumatized  by a large bird encounter. You know how little kids love to grab grab grab things? And you know how little kids flock to zoos and seem to multiply once they get inside? Yeah, your birds are going to get attacked. Tell them to stay off the grounds.

But, all in all, a very successful day since I got to feed a goat. And heard the phrase, “What is this, the baby petting zoo?” uttered outside of the waiting area for the carousel. You pet those babies, hefty sir. If the seagulls can do whatever the fuck they want, so can you.

——

What phrase is commonly uttered by teenage lemurs to their parents?

LEMUR ALONE, YOU’RE RUINING MY LIFE.

Other acceptable answers: “Does my wide-striped tail make me look fat?” “Stop judging my interracial relationship with this tamarin.”