This post includes a compilation of funny things I’ve heard while on the clock:
There is no doubt that our baby giraffe is bringing many curious and excited guests to the African Plains region of our zoo. Over the past few weeks, we’ve had interns stationed all along the giraffe exhibit to tell everyone about the baby, Beau. I was stationed at this location when a young guest comes up to me and asks, with the utmost confidence, “How old was he when he was born?” I turned to the guest, puzzled and kindly asked what he meant. He looked confused, and with a furrowed brow let out a long, “Uhhhhhh mom?” It turned out he meant to ask how tall the giraffe was when he was born!
A common statement made by guest (particularly when they see a red panda) is, “I WANT ONE!”. Understandably, this type of statement is one that we discourage at the zoo. When guests make this statement, it is important to remind them that it is a wild animal and they likely do not have the time or resources to provide that animal with a quality life. For example, the red panda’s diet consists of 90% bamboo, so unless there is a forest of bamboo in the backyard, the panda will not survive. As individuals working to improve the guest experience, comments like these are always responded to in the most positive way, making guests think about the animals as wild and not comparing them to their pet dog.
Lastly, at the zoo, one of our goals is for they animals to act as close as they would in the wild as possible. This is a wonderful thing, though it gets a little strange when it happens in front of young children. If I had a dollar for every time I heard, “…Mom…what are they doing?” I could probably buy myself a nice new pair of sunglasses. A few weeks ago, things went a little differently. I was standing in our reptile exercise yard and, to the left of me, the Galapagos tortoises were mating. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen this happen, but it is VERY obvious when it is. A young girl, probably about 6 years old, ran up to me and yelled in front of a crowd of other children, “THOSE TORTOISES ARE MAKING BABIES!” Struggling to hold in my laughter and shocked that she actually referred to them as a tortoise and not a turtle, I responded, enthusiastically, “Really? That’s wonderful! Here at the zoo, sometimes we call that ~calling the stork~” and the moms laughed and I continued my discussion about the red-footed tortoise in the yard.