My family returned today from a week-long trip to Southern California. Lots of blogging material there, but today, I’m going to write about what I learned about myself on this trip. And what I learned about myself on this trip is that animals are really boring.
Before we left for California, I did my research. Practically everyone I know told me that if I did not visit the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, I would be sorry. I heard it so often that I started to feel guilty that I’d not taken my boys there already. Busy planning the rest of the trip, I put Tom on safari detail, and asked him to reserve one of the safari park’s tours for us ahead of time, which he did, at $82 a pop. That’s right, $82 per person.
At $82 per person, I had expectations of this safari tour. It sounds dumb in retrospect, but for $82, I believed that I’d see, like, a lion chasing and eating a wildebeest. But it was not to be. After settling into our super-sized golf cart with two other families, a couple things quickly became apparent. First, this was a “conservation” park, meaning that they keep the predators and prey apart—lame; and second, without some predator-on-prey action, I had about a 0% chance of keeping my sons under control for the duration of the hour-long tour.
After the tour guide drove us up to our third herd of antelope chewing hay, I began to panic in earnest. At the fifth stop, Finn started asking, loudly, if he could play Fruit Ninja. Even Tate, who as a f-ing TODDLER should be way into animals, lost interest. At the zebra stop, when I turned my back for a moment to teach Finn a lesson about gratitude, Tate just walked off the golf cart, apparently headed back for the gift shop. As for his dad, Tom had entered the semi-catatonic state that he enters when faced with a kid-related situation that is not being handled. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t working. From the expression on his face, I knew that he was calculating the number of snacks in his backpack, and how far apart he would have to space them in order to keep the boys from going entirely AWOL.
The situation would have been stressful enough without having to worry about ruining the $82 safaris of the other six people on the golf cart. But then some of the other adults started asking questions like (true story) “Why did that giraffe sit down?” and “Do all these animals age in dog years?”, and I decided that these people deserved to have my children inflicted upon them. So instead of stressing, I sat back, and tried to enjoy the animals. And that’s when it occurred to me that I derive no pleasure whatsoever from the viewing of animals. The highlight of the tour was the white rhino, which, as the tour guide somberly informed us, will become extinct in our lifetimes. I put on my sad face, but it was hard to feel terribly torn up about the loss of this particular rhino species given that the rhino just sat in the mud for the 7 minutes we were parked in front of him. I couldn’t even tell he was a rhino for a while because the safari park has cleverly designed his habitat to include a bunch of gray boulders that look exactly like the rhino. Did I mention that the tour cost $82.
When all else fails, I enjoy animals when I can get really close to them and take photos that I can post on Facebook to show how close I was. But I was even foiled there. I mean, this is as close as we got. If I told you these were claymation animals, you’d be like, “Yes, I saw that movie, and it sucked.” I mean, those would have to be some pretty tall giraffes to be impressive from this distance. And they weren’t. They were really small giraffes.
So anyway, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Go, if you’re into that sort of thing. Or save your money for Legoland, where you can see beautiful animals, up close and personal.