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Oakland Zoo

Don’t ask me why, but I’ve been itching to go to the zoo for the past month or so. It’s been at least a decade since I’ve been to a zoo, and with all the Planet Earth and Wild Chronicles I’ve been watching, I had the urge.

I finally found a free day on Sunday, so I dragged my family to the Oakland Zoo. It’s not quite as well known as the San Francisco Zoo, but it hasn’t been quite as dramatic recently either. I’d also met a number of people who had good things to say about it, including one of the zoo’s handlers.

So, we tried it. It definitely wasn’t big, but I didn’t mind. It felt low key and manageable, and the animals felt closer and more intimate than they might have in a larger place. What’s more, they all seemed comfortable, healthy, and very at home in their habitats. None of the exhibits gave me the “miserable caged animal” feeling I half expected, which was a pleasant surprise.

The animals themselves were great. The lions, elephants, and giraffes were all worth seeing, of course, but some of the lesser animals were even more compelling. In particular, the densely populated bat colony was absolutely fascinating. I had no idea bats were so expressive! The parrots, chimpanzees, and frogs also drew me in for much longer than I expected.

The one animal I was disappointed to miss was the Malayan Sun Bear. It’s much smaller than its northern cousins, only 60-100lbs, but somewhat faster and more agile. I’ll have to find it next time I visit!

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