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Published: October 24th 2008
Why do people pretend they are taking their children to the zoo? Well, the children do go along with the parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles and other adults who get them up early in the morning, feed and dress them and drag them along. But I contend that the children are really excuses adults have for going somewhere they really love to go and having a good day. Observe children in the zoo. Over half of them are sound asleep in their strollers. They don't even know they are at the zoo. But the adults with them are still walking from animal to animal, stopping to read the information, taking pictures and doing all the things that go on in zoos all over the world. Sure, some of the children are old enough that they seem to be dragging their parents from cage to cage, but those are in the minority I do believe.
According to the weather report, Saturday a few weeks ago was supposed to be a bright sunny day with temperatures in the 20'sC. So, all the CAT students and several of us (using them as an excuse) headed to the bus stop in the morning. We had
decided not to take the regular route-bus/subway/bus but instead to travel according to the plans Greg had laid out for us. This was a step of faith on our part since he couldn't go along with us and we were being lead by the very capable Alex (who inspite of his verbal instructions) had NO idea whatsoever of exactly how the whole route was to be found and followed. We got on the 116 bus which heads down the valley instead of the 161 which heads into more familiar territory. She had been told we were to travel by means of the ferry which crosses the river and (as far as we knew) landed you more or less near a street that according to Greg would take us to the zoo. Except for the fact that we had no idea if we were to get on a bus on the other side or walk from the ferry stop to the zoo, we were just full of confidence that we could get there and back without losing all the young seminary students. One thing in our favor was the fact that all of we 'adults' knew exactly where to get OFF
Ferry ride ends
No one fell in, the ferry didn't sink. Success!
the 116 even though we had little idea of where we needed to go after that to find the ferry. As far as we knew, all we had to do was cross the road after we got off the bus and the ferry would magically be sitting there at riverside ready to take us on the second step of our Saturday adventure. On account of our confidence, none of the students seemed at all concerned. They had a great deal of (misplaced???) faith in our leadership. We caught the bus, got off right after the bus squeezed through the teeny tiny underpass, headed to the zebra crossing, looked down the embankment and viola! there was the ferry. Well, there was the very small boat which was pretending to be a big ferry. We had to divide ourselves into three (3) groups in order to get all of us from one shore to the other. The ducks in the water were amusing enough that no one seemed to mind waiting on either side. So far, so good.
We walked up the other bank and found ourselves rather near a bus stop. Someone had gotten more or less, in general, who-knew-if-they-were-right-or-not instructions
on the way to go. These instructions consisted of an arm pointing up the hill then making a sort of right hand sweep. The bus schedule showed that we could either wait 15 to 20 minutes for the bus or head out walking in the general supposed direction of the zoo. Since all the crowd was from ages 3 to about 29, (except for 4 REAL adults) we started to walk. The trip was quite delightful since there were many brilliantly colored leaves all along the way. Almost everyone was posing for pictures or taking pictures. We soon were sure we were on the right street since we realized we were passing behind many of the animal exhibits. We entered the zoo on the opposite side to the one Bill and I have used before. We warned people new to the zoo not to buy food from the first spot they saw since it was a burger joint. The zoo is full, not only of animals, but of good to great places to eat!
Clumps of friends headed out in different directions all over the zoo to see the animals they were most interested in. We two walked alone
most of the day since we were the ones who had been there the most often and we didn't need to hurry to see EVERYTHING. We often bumped into the students who were all having a great time.
Oh, I forgot to mention, the sun wasn't shining, it wasn't warm. It was foggy and chilly. Then suddenly in a moment's time the sun found a little hole in the clouds and quickly banished them Except for the tiny flaw in the early weather, the day was perfect. We all found good food, saw amazing animals, enjoyed a little oasis of rest and relaxation in a very hard busy week of work and study. No one got lost. We all made it home safely and were so glad the recreation committee had planned such a good day. I think none of us know who was the benefactor who paid for our excursion. Students only had to buy their bus tickets and meals. The entrance fees were paid by some wonderful person who knows how important fun is to the morale of a hardworking, dedicated group of young people. Bill and I felt we should pay our own way but were
told we could come free too. No one knew how prophetic these words were. When Alex was paying the discounted student group ticket, she told them there were also two senior citizens with the group. When we got our tickets, much to our amazement and Alex's, ours were gratis. No one had to pay for us to have another memorable day in Prague. Thank you City of Prague, Zoo friends or whoever made it possible for us to also go along free.
Bill and I have been in many zoos, Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, Beijing, China, Salvador Bahia, Brazil, Frankfurt, Germany,(where we learned quite Definitely that Verboten
on a sign with a camera means No photography of the flamingos) Salisbury, MD, San Diego, CA, New Orleans, LA, Luo Yang, China, Xian, China Cheng Du, China and I am sure others which I have forgotten just this moment. The Prague Zoo is the best of all of these and these are all (except for Luo Yang, good zoos. The Baltimore zoo comes next. The Salisbury zoo is the best small city zoo. So, take a tip from us. If you are a zoo lover, come to Prague. There are many
other reasons to come here but the zoo is a top attraction.
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