Walk: San Francisco Zoo Distance: 3.5 miles, small yoga stretch
So, the last time Ciwt was at the San Francisco Zoo was when she went to see Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing, the Pandas visiting from the Washington Zoo (via a gift to the U.S. from China). The bears were a national sensation when they arrived in the States in 1972 and equally so when they toured the West Coast in 1984 and were seen by millions including Ciwt.
|Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing|
The Pandas were just darling but the viewing (and the zoo) left much to be desired. Ciwt remembers standing in a long line on steaming concrete with no shade in the midst of a heat wave. Other than the bears, it was a downer - as were the few zoo visits in other cities she had experienced before then. You know - unhappy looking animals in small, barish cages. Sad.
Well, not so any more! She was invited by a Zoo Docent and donor friend for an update, and Wow! Turns out zoos are on the forefront of the current conservation movement, and it shows. Besides on-going education programs, and numerous behind the scenes advancements, the 'new' SF Zoo is huge, with trees and landscaped gardens, signage and walking paths galore. Oh, and animals. More than you can imagine in environments that duplicate their home territories and give them abundant space, indoor and out, to roam, bathe, frolic, leap, whatever they naturally do. They are clearly cared for and seem content, so it is interesting, educational and a pleasure to see them.
|One of three beautiful, happy seeming SF Zoo Siberian tigers (whose name Ciwt has forgotten)|
And all that will only increase as more funds and energy are poured into zoos. So, if you have a zoo near you you haven't visited in a while, Ciwt thinks you might enjoy a trip.