If you have kids you are probably a regular visitor to your local zoo. I bought an annual pass when my girls were little and we were there on a regular basis as a way to get out of the house and explore. But today I’m going to tell you why you need to leave the kids at home and go to the zoo by yourself.
I hadn’t planned to go to the zoo by myself.
I was doing a photo shoot for a client and they had asked me to meet them at the zoo. I arrived to the shoot early.
As I waited for the zoo to open I watched the plethora of parents and children gathered around me. I watched the facsimiles of me a couple of years ago as they struggled getting children into buggies and juggling the bags, bottles and snacks that invariably come with a trip to the zoo.
And suddenly a sense of freedom overcame me.
I could see any animal I wanted to see! I could start with the giraffe (always my favourite, never the kids).
I could watch the zebra doing absolutely nothing and not feel I had to move on.
I didn’t have to stop and marvel at the chickens that walked across the path in front of us. Instead I could turn around and look at the elephant just a few feet away from us.
I didn’t have to stand with my nose pressed against the glass with the rest of the media scrum waiting for the lion to come.
I could stand off to the side and wait for one of these magestic creatures to amble past me.
I could stop and watch the flamingos swivel around on one leg without stopping children chasing chickens. Any of you who have taken children to Auckland Zoo will know that you spend an inordinate amount of time talking about chickens rather than the rarer breeds on display.
I could even take my time looking at things that had no animals in them at all. They were just interesting.
I could take the time to read the plaque at the entrance to the zoo after walking past it at speed so many times. And realise that the zoo was opened almost 100 years ago in 1922.
And finally I had the freedom to leave when I wanted to leave.
Now I’m not saying for a minute that I would take back any of the many visits I made with my kids to the zoo. But just once it’s amazing to treat yourself to a visit to the zoo just by yourself.