I love the Zoo! And, I hate the Zoo… Oceania is at war with Eurasia, Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia. The Zoo allows me to view animals that I normally would never be able to see here in my wonderful little plot of life in Central Kansas. The Zoo is a prison of creatures that can’t understand the life they’re living and deserve better than we’ve ever done by them. Zoo’s help rehabilitate and preserve endangered and nearly endangered species that might otherwise go extinct in the wild. We are the reason these animals need that help to begin with, and many of the animals raised in Zoo’s can never reenter the wild… Oceania is at war with East Asia, Oceania has always been at war with East Asia.
As said, I live in Central Kansas (a little town named Newton to be exact, swing by and see our… ). Surprisingly, there are a number of well maintained and beautiful Zoo’s and wildlife area’s withing spitting distance of me. The images in this post were all taken at the Sedgwick County Zoo (SCZ.org if you’d like some more info) which is the closest, and most extensive of these options. There’s also a free Zoo in the near town of Hutchinson, the Rolling Hills nature preserve about an hour north, a place called Tanganika that is an interactive Zoo experience just outside Wichita, and many many more. Most of these are very well kept, well… “stocked”? and well staffed.
This trip, like most of my adventures here in my little town, started with a phone call to my best mate and shooting partner Ryan. You’ll probably see this name come up quite a bit, and rightly so, so know that he’s my general partner in crime. This call, like many before it, started with a completely unrelated plan for weekend photo time. We try and get out and shoot almost every weekend, which can be quite difficult during the winter here in Kansas as a game of “I spy something brown” lasts all season. This weekends plan was to go out to a beautiful overlook about an hour away called Coronado Heights, shoot the sunset from atop the hill (yes we have a few of those here) then relax by the Castle (no, that’s unique here) then shoot some starscapes… and yet, here we are at the Zoo.
On my Flickr (link’s at the bottom folks) I keep my Zoo shots in a folder titled “Captive Audience”. I still haven’t decided if this is in reference to me or the animals, I’ll let you see what you think. Ryan and I made all the necessary plans for our sunset shoot, prepped the gear, dug out the tripods, researched weather and sunset times etc. all the way up until Thursday night. Then, between one thing and another, neither of us could make a Saturday evening out all night shooting work. So, plan B. comes in to play. A flurry of ideas, repeating “well we gotta get out, what can we fit in where?” Ryan’s really great about making Sundays about his family, and making sure everyone is included etc. so the idea of the Zoo came to be, and so it was.
So Ryan, his hilarious Wife, and wonderful Daughter (pictured at the head, and above) piled into the car and headed south. We arrived at the Zoo as they opened the front gates to a line of around thirty people, half of whom were children not much older than the Squeaker we had following us around. 95% of that crowd (Ryan and family included) headed right through the gate to the most popular of attractions, the petting zoo… I headed left, to Australia.
Being the first person in an enclosure, especially an open walk through enclosure, is one of the best things at the Zoo. The animals were relaxed, natural, and out and about in all their energetic wonder. From there the day is a bit of a blur! We reconnected after Squeaker had enough of the funny farm animals and headed to Africa, were our friend the Lion was putting on a wonderful show of roaring for it’s mate (which was separated into an offsite location). We then made our way to Asia and North America and finally to the Tropical Rain forest exhibit, which is a giant enclosed green house walk through, and is quite wonderful year round.
Nothing is nicer than stretching your legs with good friends, getting to see and photograph beautiful animals that are definitely not native to your area, and at the same time spending at least a little time just relaxing and enjoying your surroundings.
I still have a problem with Zoo’s, I don’t think I ever won’t, but I also love them and the experience they afford me.
That, my friends and follower, is all for today. I head out tomorrow morning to try my hand at some local bird photography with a lens I haven’t cracked out in years. Following that up with some macro work at a local park (yes, things are beginning to bud here already… we’ll get there next week) so until next time…
Thought I forgot, didn’t you.
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