I enjoy visiting aquariums and zoos. However, while the displays of many and varied fish and animal species amaze me, I usually find myself much more fascinated by another species. You know the species I mean: bipedal, sporting opposable thumbs, mostly hairless, and pays the admission price at the front door. That’s right, the human species. Below are my zoo and aquarium notes and observations on this species.
This member of the species is usually leading a pack of its own offspring. As it approaches a display, it loudly announces the species being displayed, adding an I-am-way-too-smart-to-be-among-the-common-populace quality to its voice. Most of the time its announcement is word-for-word what is on the plaque mounted next to the display, but since it thinks no other member of the species can read as well as it does, it continues to enlighten everyone within earshot.
There’s one in every group declaring, “Man, that thing is ugly!” This species member is usually dressed in cut-off shorts, a dirty T-shirt, and broken-down sneakers. It is usually unshaven (both male and female), with more than one dirt smudge somewhere on its exposed skin, reeking of either beer or cigarettes (sometimes both), and around seventy-five pounds overweight.
This over-producing member of the species enjoys its offspring so much it shares them with everyone else, allowing them free-range in, through, and on the establishment. No distance apart, however, is too far for them to vocally communicate with each other, paying absolutely no attention to others who are forced to witness what they really couldn’t care less about knowing.
This member is the one who always wonders aloud: “What would happen if they got out?” (Zoo). Or, “What would happen if all this glass broke?” (Aquarium).
This member is usually mated to the member listed above, and answers its call: “I’m getting’ my gun from the truck and we’re eatin’ elephant steaks!” (Zoo). Or, “The biggest fish fry in the history of the freakin’ world!” (Aquarium).
This member has a stroller and isn’t afraid to use it! It’s the perfect weapon…er…tool to get to the front of the pack and stand at the window. They can be easily spotted by watching for large numbers of other members jumping sideways and rubbing their ankles.
Seemingly disgusted by an animal’s behavior of escaping the day’s heat, this member will shake its head and say something like, “After I paid all this money, you’d think they would shut the animals out of their dens so I can see them.”
Staring into an aquarium tank full of very large fish, “Dang! I sure wish I had brought my fishin’ pole! Think they sell bait in the gift shop?”
Okay, I think you get the idea. The next time you’re in a zoo or aquarium, watch and pay attention to the people around you. You may just find them more interesting than the animals or fish on display.