Monday, March 7, 2016

Guadalajara 2016 - Guadalajara Zoo by Foot

A multitude of birds sang in the trees as I made my way down the shaded pathways. I soon encountered on of several innovative exhibitions at the zoo. In one area wire mesh tunnels, similar to hamster trails, run along an cross over the pathways. They are inhabited by some of the monkeys that, if they could talk, would call the zoo home. One peered down at me as another scampered along carrying her tiny baby on her back, something we were lucky enough to see in the wild when we visited Costa Rica. A peacock, indigenous to Mexico, roamed uncaged. I sought out the Bengal tiger. The black and white cat is one of the most beautiful creatures I have ever seen. It appeared confident and self assured of it's magnificent presence as it lazed in the sun.

The animals seemed to be healthy and well cared for. Herd animals, deer and sheep for instance, had young of varying ages among their numbers. Toucans and Macaws also reminded me of Costa Rica. A black swan stepped over a low fence at the edge of it's pond and came after me, letting me know without mistake that I had overstayed my welcome while photographing it's mate. A goose sent me a similar message in an aviary. Geese, native to the Midwest, can be aggressive and downright mean, I guess swans are quick learners.

The crowds grew as the day wore on. 2 young Mexican couples joked and laughed as they strolled the grounds. A number of tiny school children, some hand in hand, ran through in their uniforms accompanied by harried adults attempting to keep them together. In the back of the zoo there were less people and I was able to quietly admire the vista of the river gorge before me. Ranges of mountains lined up one after another as far as the eye could see. The most far off appeared as mere suggestions of their shapes. A river, unable to be seen from my vantage point, over almost unimaginable years has cut the deep clefts that separate them. The area is a national park. Anywhere in the world it would be considered a national treasure. Tables and benches are located there so that the stunning beauty of this place can be appreciated over a picnic lunch. If I had children it would be the type of place I would take them so they could learn about and appreciate the magic and majesty of nature.

There are two other special enclosures at the zoo. In one you can enter a cage and find yourself face to face with a troop of small monkeys. They walk along the rails of the bridge that spans the floor of the cage. They swing from ropes over your head and climb down them to the small pile of rocks where their food tray is located. Their rapid and constant movements makes taking photos of them as they move about the cage a challenge. They might frighten very young children but older children and at least this adult found the interaction as fun as well, a barrel of monkeys.

A similar experience is to be had with the kangaroos and emus in the zoos menagerie. A path runs through that enclosure. All that separates you from the marsupials is a wooden log railing. In the heat of the afternoon all they seemed to be interested in was napping. They did acknowledge me by slightly raising their heads and wiggling their ears before returning to their former somnolent positions.

If one is so inclined there is a small amusement park containing 38 rides adjacent to the zoo. The roller coaster can be seen and the riders screams heard from several spots near the front of the zoo.

Beautiful animals, amusement park rides thrills and spills and wonders of nature. Who could ask for anything more?

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