I have been to the Hogle Zoo a million times in my life and never once walked across the street to the This is the Place Monument. What kind of a Mormon am I? Anyway, I was impressed and my kids actually did learn a little History -- I had no idea there was stuff about all kinds of early explorers up there! I even got a little choked up as I read the plaque to them about Brigham Young sitting up in the wagon after being very ill, being lost in a vision for a few moments, and then simply saying, "This is the right place. Drive on." It was very moving reading that as I looked over the valley and I couldn't help but wonder if he saw it as magnificent as it has now become. Being there made his words seem so . . . well, prophetic.
We were the first ones in the zoo, and remained the lone zoo goers for the first 45 mins. or so. I was so enjoying our quiet little zoo adventure that I felt almost a bit resentful when other mothers and bus loads of children began showing up to intrude on our private little zoo (see, that does prove though that it is a legitimate fieldtrip!)
We did learn a few things. Apparently the Howler Monkey is the loudest animal. "What?" You ask. Well, me too. All I know is, Abe recognized the very ordinary little monkeys long before we got to the plaque about them, and it did indeed say they are the loudest and can be heard from three miles away. Weird. We also liked the warthog looking animals that scientists had long believed extinct until finding them in the Chaco in the 70's.
Lastly, I am pretty sure the cheetah tried to kill Abe. I'm not kidding. We looked and looked everywhere in his big savanna like area but could not find him. The girls and I walked over to the giraffes while Abe still looked. Then Abe began heading off towards the next exhibit. We turned to follow him when I heard sort of a very low whishing sound and a quite rumbling growl. I turned just in time to see the Cheetah streaking full speed towards Abe before the fence stopped him. It seriously reminded me of watching them go after a gazelle on a nature show! I could just picture him -- crouching quietly in the grass as we looked for him, inching closer and closer until the moment Abe's back was turned, and then, the sprint. For a little minute I had an image in my head of this happening in the wilds and I was very happy to have the tall fence between my son and that cheetah!
My fluffy headed Penny, as you can clearly see from these pictures, did not one bit enjoy her first visit to the zoo.