Monday, March 14, 2011


Sometimes you take the place you live for granted. You look what the city has to offer and never truly appreciate what is there. Some places you visit quite often while overlooking some of the treasures that are right in front of you.

My friend Heather came in to town with the thought of going to the Milwaukee County Zoo. I hadn't been to the zoo in probably 10 years. It seemed like a good idea. Little did I know she had an ulterior motive for going to the zoo.
It was Behind the Scenes weekend at the zoo. They said they would take patrons behind the doors and fences to see what zoo workers do on a daily basis. What that meant was you got to see what the "chefs" cook up for the animals to eat. I now know how penguins get fed their birth control pills. That kind of knowledge is invaluable. One old coot even gave guidance on how to raise kids (bribing them with M&Ms). See, that info is not valuable and given up readily.
But I did enjoy going around the zoo and seeing the animals. Of course being a Milwaukee boy I talked with enthusiasm of the memories of the legendary Samson the gorilla. Sadly there weren't any other gorillas out while we were there. Not that they could come close to matching the awesomeness that was Samson. Many a kid would stare in fascination as the gorilla may wander back and forth. If you got lucky, he may have stepped on the scale that was in his pen or rush the glass to give it a quick pound. Other times you just watched him lay there doing nothing.
Heather was excited to see the Red Panda. I personally didn't get it. When we found where it was, the panda was sitting in a box. It did come out of the box which elicited cooing from the high school girls about how cute it was. It slowly moved around the box and went back in. Exciting!
As we walked around the zoo I quickly realized the real reason for Heather's desire to go to the zoo. It was all about the Mold-a-Rama. You know, those plastic sculptures created right before your eyes in high quality plastic. A memory for a lifetime!

My gateway drug into the shady world of Mold-a-Rama

The big cat country exhibit was probably the most active. A lion was walking about. This had a young cheetah perched up staring at it from across the room. The lion was a big hit among the kids as it paced back and forth right in front of the glass, pushing its head towards the outstretched hands. I figured it was hungry and was thinking how full its belly would be if it could get by the barrier.

Probably the most pathetic display were the spider monkeys. They looked so sad and bored. It was as if you put a gun in the cage that they would have used it to end their lives. Heck, I would have supplied the guy for them.

In the end a good time was had at the zoo. Makes me think about some other places in town that I haven't been to in quite some time. A trip down to the museum may be in order.


AletaR said...

We took the grandkids and Ken to the Behind the Scenes several years ago. Got to ride in the cart, see the aquarium from above, feed bats and learn where all the poop goes. Very interesting tour.

AletaR said...

Oh and we also spent a lot of money on the moldaramas.

J. Gambino said...

I have a Samson moldarama!! Nothing beats a walk down old Milwaukee street! You should take a trip to the Art Museum, too. Or the Eisner.

Heather said...

Aleta - we mostly only got to see the feeding stuff; the bat house was closed due to one of the other nocturnal animals having a baby.

And really, few things give me the simple pure childish happiness than watching my mold a rama get made, so it's awesome that Steve induldged my mold-a-rama desire (okay probably more of a demand every time I saw one ... :) )