Take your family to the zoo in the winter

The roar of a male lion echoed across the otherwise quiet zoo.  We were four feet away from him. Lilah, who was in Chris’ arms looked up in delight and disbelief. She knows no fear. My heart quickened, instinctually. James counted his lucky stars and turned back to the tiger, his favorite, who was pacing through the snow.

Take your family to the zoo in the winter. It was forty degrees the day we planned our visit. We had other indoor activities pocketed as back up if the temperature dropped.  But in our big coats and mittens, we were fine. The zoo, with the exception of its residents, was blissfully quiet. The only crowd we found was at the spectacular heated sea lion exhibit where Lilah and the other children drew the attention of these aquatic clowns by waving their winter hats. 

Outside of that exhibit, it felt like we had the zoo to ourselves. I’m sure there were small crowds in the indoor exhibits, but after days below freezing, forty degrees felt...great. The fresh air and extra walking was good for all of us.  With no crowds to negotiate James and Lilah walked right up to the zebra, big cat, and mountain animal enclosures, watching and interacting as long as they liked.

Like me, some of the animals seemed more relaxed outside of the usual zoo crowds. This camel walked right up to us, posing and sighing as the snow in his facial hair bounced up and down with his heavy breath. 

A zebra threw an adolescent temper tantrum as his family looked on shaking their heads.  Geese skated across a partially frozen lake.

Every so often the lion would roar again. It was a low and powerful music. Chris and I walked arm in arm, stealing kisses as the kids called to the animals. We left as the snow clouds blew back in, promising to return, hopefully before the spring crowds. 

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