We got to the zoo by opening time at 10 AM. Walking in, we immediately stopped in front of the pond to look at some not-very-pink flamingos. I guess real life flamingos don’t look like the ones in cartoons and coloring books…
Our first few exhibits consisted of apes and monkeys. There was an awesome gibbon that was swinging back and forth on a tree branch, kind of like those horizontal ladders stacked between slides in a playground. Except it was literally swing-jumping from branch to branch. So agile and graceful.
Kim had to observe the gibbons doing the same thing for the next twenty or so minutes, but we moved on to the chimp exhibit, and I have to tell you, it was one of the most dramatic and epic animal observations I’ve experienced.
The dominant male chimp was beating up a female chimp (domestic abuse?), and the other chimps were all visibly disturbed but too scared to do anything about it. After several minutes, one of the chimps swooped in to try to “rescue” the she-chimp, without success, and the beating continued.
Finally, the female escaped, and there was all-out ruckus as the chimps ran around, with the male chasing after her and the other chimps stepping in to help. I swear, it reminded me of another species…
There was even the make-up process – when the male chimp tried to make amends with the she-chimp, the she-chimp avoided him.
But I digress.
We also spotted some super-energetic squirrel monkeys, red-bottomed baboons, and ancient (and huge) tortoises. Next stop: the African veldt/savannah exhibits.
Pumba was there (but he wasn’t as fat), as was Timon (or a bunch of Timons). There were also giraffes eating treats from zoo visitors, some gazelles, single-hump camels, wrinkly elephants, and stinky zebras. Too bad the lions and tigers weren’t out when we stopped by – it was pretty hot around that time, so they were probably chilling.
After lunch, we rode a train into the Australian part of the zoo and spotted some emus and wannabe-kangaroos (wallaroos). There was also a really nice view of the entire city during the ride.
Our final stops for the day were the reptile and insect exhibits, and the petting zoo (or in politically-correct terms, “contact zones”). Ana stayed outside while we looked at the reptiles, but everyone enjoyed petting goats and sheep.
All in all, it was a really fun visit, and I was glad to see that the animals were well-cared for, with spacious living areas and lots of food. The zoo workers were knowledgeable and even provided eye-opening commentary (especially during the chimp fight).
The Oakland Zoo is a great place to spend 4-5 hours. It’s large enough to have a variety of animals, and small enough that you’ll be able to cover the entire place in half a day and see most (if not all, of the types of animals). Admission was $12.50, and parking was $7, so very reasonable and worth the cost. Fun day, and good times.
Survive in the wild at randomtidbitsofthought.wordpress.com.