With one of the kids sick and school vacation coming to a close we decided to go to the Franklin Park Zoo in Dorchester. The germs would be free range, if not the animals. It’s been well over a decade since I was last at Franklin Park and while it looks better than it did back then, I realize I’ve been spoiled with some pretty amazing zoos these past years: Denver, San Francisco, Oakland, and Fort Worth (though the latter was a little over branded for me with the Cheetah exhibit sponsored by Cheetos).
While his roar was fantastic, the lion today looked a bit weathered and may or may not have had a cataract (or two). And the gorillas? I don’t remember them looking so sad or having such a strong urge to rescue them. They looked dirty, displaced, and depressed. I have a love/hate relationship with zoos on a good day, but the gorillas I saw on the west coast did not behave like these. The ones in Denver had a some anger issues and a certain western swagger, but otherwise seemed very well cared for. Perhaps it was just the setting and I caught them on a sleepy day, but today’s gorilla enclosure did not leave a favorable impression. Nor did the smell.
We opted to buy a membership. Maybe the animals are experiencing seasonal affect disorder and will look better in the spring. If not, at least our money helps out a little. We’ll be back, but I may have to skip the gorilla house next time. Of course the kids were oblivious to all of this – but the smell – and are eager to go back and see the animals that we missed, try out the fantastic looking playgrounds, and sample the gift shop wares.