Monday, February 16
A couple of weeks ago, Kris and I went to Zoo Lights at the Memphis Zoo. Kris had been dying to visit the zoo for a long time (she loves pandas) and I was also looking forward to seeing some caged beasts. Unfortunately, the only animals we saw were some lame goats and ducks with no shame (pictured below).
The trip was not a waste- Kris and I had a great time. We took lots of pictures and I got to wear my new, very stylish winter hat (thanks, Kyle and Becca). We also decorated "free with the price of admission" sugar cookies and ate fake snow that turned out to be soap.
When we arrived at the Zoo, everything more than met our expectations. The lights outside were just like the picture on the website. When we got up to the line, a little man let us in the side door because we had already purchased an e-ticket. What a blessing! The inside track! Before we could fully take in the joy of passing all of those losers in the line, we noticed that it was snowing in the zoo!
Yes, snow was falling on our heads. It was sticking to my coat and Kris' hair. Joy! From where we stood, we looked into the zoo. We saw lion cages up ahead! And a horse and carriage ride!? Merry Christmas to us! But as we skipped happily along, we realized why Zoo Lights admission is half the price of regular Zoo admission- they hide the animals during Zoo Lights so all you get is the smell of animals and Christmas lights in the shape of the Eiffel Tower and the White House. Plus the carriage rides were not "free" like the sugar cookies and the snow was mysteriously limited to the area immediately in front of the entrance.
Still, we held out hope that there were animals somewhere. Kris was cut deep when we discovered the door to Panda World was locked. It sounded like there was something going on within the Panda World Fence, but we couldn't see any Panda World Action. It was probably a Panda Party. We were not invited- salt in the wound. However, there was a ruckus over in the farm area, so we went to investigate. Maybe there was an animal? It turns out the ruckus was a group of elderly folk fighting for a good vantage point of a dozen or so ducks "wrestling" on an island in the middle of a pond. I was, of course, offended by their immaturity. Clearly, the ducks were trying to make scene. There were plenty of private areas to procreate, but they chose to do the business on Duck Island for all to see. I can't say I blame them- this is probably the only night of the year that they are the main attraction. They would normally be overshadowed by more exciting animals like chickens.
Since we were already in the Farm Zone, we decided to take a look around. We were pleased to see there were goats and sheep and even some reindeer. The goats looked very scared. The sheep were very busy pooping, which really freaked out a funny black lady who, evidently, never expected to see animal poop at the zoo. The reindeer looked tired, probably because it was only a few days after Christmas and they hadn't fully recuperated from their lap around the world. We couldn't fully enjoy these animals, however, because it was at this time that we noticed a man who seemed to be on safari. He had one of those safari-man mustaches and he was dressed in all khaki. He had the hat and everything. If he would have been wearing a monocle instead of glasses, I would have pinned him as Panama Jack. And I think he was following us. Actually, I'm sure of it. However, I'm not sure he fell for our "go over there and I'll pretend I'm taking your picture" gag.
Before visiting the gift shop on the way out, we followed the sound of Christmas carols not to real carolers, but mannequins and a speaker. The carols sounded good enough, but the faux carolers were a might bit scary. Kris discovered she makes the same face when she sings "Felis Navidad." It's not so scary when Kris makes this face, as you can see. I wanted to take a picture with the scary caroling mannequins, too, but a gang of hispanics walked by and I didn't want to look foolish in front of them because they looked pretty cool. Not pictured here was the tenor-singing-scary-mannequin, whose sideburns grew into a fine mustache.
I hope I haven't given the impression that Zoo Lights was a drag. Yes, we were upset that there were no animals, but we didn't really come to see animals, but to have a good time together. All in all, that's exactly what we did. In fact, I think this will go down in the books as one of the best times I've ever had with my wife. And I am not going to hold this against the Memphis Zoo at all. I mean, where else can you be hunted by Panama Jack, be hatched out of an egg, impersonate plastic carolers, scare little children, visit the White House, and learn the birds and the bees from a dozen ducks? Only at Zoo Lights.
There were many more exciting Zoo Light moments that I simply couldn't put into words. A few of these moments were captured in stills. I have included these stills below. Thank you.