The St. Louis zoo is a landmark in the Midwest. It’s one of the top zoos in the country and it’s FREE. Yep. Amazing.
As an animal lover and biology nerd I’ve had a love/hate relationship with zoos in general. After working as an assistant to a zoologist I know that animals deserve to be free but there are circumstances when they need our help. The main reason the STL zoo has been such a staple in the area is that it works to educate others and has spent decades updating habitats to properly mimic natural environments.
The elephants have their own river walk. The apes live in a real jungle. Our penguins and polar bears get to swim and play in enclosures that are as close to their homelands as possible. It’s magical.
Unfortunately there have been past issues. When I was a kid the elephants were kept in a barn-like stable, called: The elephant house. It was one of my favorite place to go because they were so close, but everyone hated it in there. It stunk like giant mounds of feces and the elephants were not given much room to move around.
When my eldest was a baby all of the polar bears died. One-by-one.
When my next child was born one of the apes hung himself with a rope toy. It was gruesome.
Having worked in animal care I understand how balancing wild needs in captivity is a constant struggle. It’s something that honestly shouldn’t be often imposed. Nature reserves and wild parks where animals can roam freely are much more beneficial to the creatures we sometimes need to rehabilitate.
Places like the World Bird Sanctuary do this.
It’s not easy and definitely not cheap. That’s why I donate there instead of to the zoo now. The St. Louis Zoo has not handled the pandemic well and it’s only getting worse. They have decided to close their 50 year old Children’s Zoo, a hands-on learning area built for interaction to teach through experience.
Some people learn well through books or listening to lectures, but I always required real-life examples. Experimentation and physical presence kept me engaged. Without those elements of learning I would have gotten nowhere and I doubt many other children would either.
But the St. Louis Children’s Zoo will permanently close in October. Not temporarily or for renovation. Forever. And because of COVID.
Here’s my “favorite” part of the official statement: The Children’s Zoo was designed for high-touch and interactive experiences, which is not conducive to a COVID or post-COVID environment.
Uhh…can someone please define, “Post-Covid Environment for me?
Right now it sounds like it’s a world where children aren’t allowed to touch things or have “interactive experiences,” which sounds like a great way to raise a generation of idiotic sociopaths.
I guess some people are fine with giving up their natural needs for the illusion of safety. I guess some institutions would rather lose support and funding than actually fight for education. Good for them, but that’s not how I live.
Fear is an epidemic.
Pandemics (whether the kill less than 1% of the population or not) pass. People grow immunities. People die. Balance gets restored. That’s life. That’s nature. Permanently closing an educational facility for a “new normal” makes about as much sense as closing churches while allowing rioters to burn them. It makes about as much sense as closing small businesses while leaving large germ-infested box stores open to sell legal poison to the masses. It makes about as much sense as throwing away ripe fruit in front of starving people because it “might” rot.
As more and more opportunities and social interactions are taken from our kids we are learning the lasting impacts, and they will cause much more devastation than any virus. I don’t know what everyone else’s “post-covid environment” is going to look like, but mine is not going to prevent my children from living, from loving, from touching, tasting, and experimenting with the world around them.
This insanity just makes me want to run around licking doorknobs haha
Every day I wake up more vindicated for homeschooling. For years I have had to defend the practice. For years I had to prove that children can learn in any environment when given the proper instruction, and now I have people coming to me for help, asking “how do you even know where to begin?”
I’m saddened that The St. Louis Zoo is punishing our children and that public education has been crumbling for years. I’m concerned about the future, yes, but I was raised to take care of myself. I’ve worked my ass off to make sure I don’t have to rely on anyone else and as I see more and more programs fail I’m damn grateful that I earned my own piece of land where I can get to know my neighbors, plant some food, and maybe have a couple of chickens, because the “post-covid environment” is coming.
Are you ready?