Franklin Park Zoo, Dorchester

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.

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