What do you do when you are having a bad day?
Me? Normally I would resort to death by chocolate, but in the spirit of 52-new-things, today I decided to try a different approach. I jumped in my car and headed out to the Toronto Zoo.
Just to be clear, I don’t like zoos. In my entire life, I’ve been to a zoo twice … neither were memorable experiences … but I was having a bad day and I needed something new to clear my head. The zoo seemed to fit the bill – besides, this gave me an opportunity to visit the 1 year-old polar bear, Humphrey, who is scheduled to be transferred to another zoo in 10 days.
Since it is still frigidly cold outside – in the -10C/14F range – the zoo was deserted. This was great for visiting the animals, but considering I got lost twice trying to find Humphrey, having no one around was rather inconvenient – not be mention a little bit scary.
I did eventually find Humphrey. This wasn’t the first time I’ve seen a polar bear. My home town has a habitat to foster old, neglected, or abandoned polar bears – but it was a treat to see the big furry youngster before he leaves the city. Rumour has it, Humphrey is going to join his brother in Winnipeg (still in Canada, for those who are wondering).
Next on my list was visiting the panda enclosure. There are 2 pandas at the Toronto Zoo on loan from China and they have the same mesmerizing quality as watching koala bears. They don’t do much … sit, eat, change position … but they are so damn cute. This was the first time I had ever seen a panda. I want one.
Lastly – half frozen by this point – I wondered whether I really wanted to search for the African penquins. Of course I did.
Like the pandas, the penquins were sequestered indoors behind glass enclosures … and like the pandas, they weren’t particularly active. They mostly looked at each other – I imagine wondering what on earth they were doing in frozen Canada instead of the warmer climes of Southern Africa.
At this point, I was feeling considerably colder – although more relaxed – than when I arrived. As I drove to the parking exit, I discovered something I was not expecting – a parking lot full of Canada Geese. I guess these guys missed the memo about flying south for the winter.
This interaction with nature was exactly the therapy I needed to turn around my mood on this cold, but sunny, Friday afternoon.