“Quick! Somebody Call the Exterminator!”

Mother Goose is tolerant of bugs. I can easily remove a beetle, an ant or a spider from the house without too much trouble. In fact, I deeply care about all forms of life. If you read my investigative report yesterday, then you are fully aware of some of the problems we experienced at a recent visit to the Brookfield Zoo. We were shocked and appalled at certain conditions in the cages and homes of the animals. We were especially saddened by the poor wombat who was the butt of jokes throughout the day as he lay in his habitat with an unlit Marlboro on his tummy, dropped there by a very rude zoo guest.

As we progressed through the park, we quickly realized that the zoo was not only neglectful of the cleanliness of the animal homes, but apparently also completely ignorant of the infestation of giant bugs in the eastern portion of the park. Try not to gasp too loudly as Mother Goose shares her expose` on this shocking zoo phenemenon.

This was a little too much for Mother Goose to handle.

Not an ordinary ladybug, nor an Asian ladybug.

A hideous infestation.

Normally I enjoy the company of the praying mantis — however, I was uncomfortable with the thought of having this one as a prayer partner…

A dragonfly the size of a Black Hawk! I kid you not…

Probably not a true honeybee…probably more like a tracker jacker.

The look on Ben’s face says it all: thoroughly disgusted with the whole scene.

Here’s what the zoo has to say about these bugs: Xtreme BUGS were built exclusively for Brookfield Zoo and invade this summer for a limited time. Massive state-of-the art animatronic bugs move about in larger-than-life scenes highlighting life in a bug’s world. A winding trail leads to ants feasting on a scorpion, spiders hunting, bees pollinating, and so much more!

Here’s what Mother Goose has to say about these bugs: Call Terminix and get rid of the big, stupid bug exhibit. Spend your time, money and effort on taking better care of the real animals in your zoological garden place. Don’t get distracted from your stated mission: “The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership by connecting people with wildlife and nature.”

Can we seriously believe your mission when there’s harmful trash in the animals’ homes? C’mon zoo keepers, do your job!

And that’s about all that Mother Goose should say about that…

Be kind to one another today, and be kind to the animals.

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An Alarming Visit to the Zoo

Mother Goose and her offspring love animals so much that we have a membership to the Brookfield Zoo and visit there quite regularly. We’ve been somewhat disappointed, however, at the lack of animals this year — cages empty, exhibits temporarily closed, animals out on loan to other zoos. We scratch our heads in puzzlement — is it a zoo or just another pretty park?

We were especially alarmed at the things we saw in July. Please try not to cry as you view these pictures from the zoo!

River otters. Notice the one with a plastic straw in his mouth. Where is the sense in that? I seldom let my own children use plastic straws for the choking danger it could pose to the drinker…

Gorilla depression is serious, but can be treated if detected early on.

Is this big fellow holding a weapon in his right hand and feet? Mother Goose is afraid, very afraid.

We moved on to the dead snow leopard exhibit. Perhaps the gorilla had already been here…

I hope your Kleenex box is close at hand.

And just when we thought we had seen all the possible trauma at the zoo, we entered the Australia house. Mother Goose was prepared for the potential of seeing bats flying loose within the dark places of this place. Nobody, including Mother Goose, was prepared for this:

Some joker had dropped an unlit cigarette on him in his demise. The dear, precious wombat… such an indignity to the little fellow. Please pass the tissues…

Dear readers, it was a harsh time, an alarming time. It was actually time to call the authorities to report the situation at the zoo. AnnaRose quickly dialed 9-1-1 and spoke to the dispatcher about these things.

“Hello? Yes, I’d like to report many problems at the zoo.”

But wait, there’s more! Tomorrow…

Mother Goose Pets a Stingray

You’d almost think they be servin’ up some tropical drinks…

Mother Goose had one of the most unique experiences of her life yesterday with her family at the Brookfield Zoo. The courageous keepers of sea creatures at the zoo have amazingly set up a temporary exhibit called Stingray Bay — a place to pet stingrays. Yes, believe it or not, petting the animals is not only allowed, it is encouraged. The sweet and happy rays there actually like to have their backs stroked gently as they glide around their 16,000 gallon swimming pool.

Naturally, at first we were hesitant to enter into this strange and unknown experience. Ever suspicious — certainly this must be some sort of a hoax, we all thought simultaneously and at once. But at the ridiculously inexpensive cost of $2.00 per person, in the long run, we just couldn’t resist. Our noses delightfully followed the salty scent of sea water, and suddenly there we were in the remarkable presence of fifty Cow-nosed Rays.

They were actually smiling as they swam around their sea-shelled tank.

All around the pool, children and adults alike had their arms dipped into the ocean water up to their shoulders, all laughter and wonderment on their faces as they caressed the incredible rays swimming merrily under the water. The rays are very sensitive around their wings and tails and mouths, so petting their backs is the best way to connect with them. Now and then, one would half leap out of the water, and we knew some human person had petted them inappropriately…

They felt very soft and slightly slippery, but not slimy. Their wings silently flap up and down — so much like birds flying underwater. Their tails had been slightly trimmed; presumably to protect us visitors. None of us wanted a Steve Irwin experience… I suspect these rays were not nearly as dangerous as other types of rays. Plus, they WERE smiling as they swam along.

Omigooseness, if you EVER see a place that allows petting of stingrays, you simply MUST experience it first hand — my simple words cannot convey the joy of connecting with a real sea creature like this!

This was one of the happiest times of Jessi’s life…

Mother Goose Returns the Children to the Zoo

With all the madness of returns and exchanges this past week, Mother Goose even returned her kids to the zoo.

Of course, I didn’t leave them there in exchange for zoo credit. I didn’t even trade them for different sized kids, or different colored kids. I like them just fine the way they are — they are my blessings!

However, we did go back, and it was exactly one week after the crazy wildlife visit to see the laser lights and dance under the moon.

(Maybe I forgot to mention that Mr. Mother Goose and I danced under the moonlight to Louis Armstrong’s song “Wonderful World” whilst the lasers flashed around us…)

Back to my story…

We had hoped to have a picnic lunch and maybe see some animals at this visit to the zoo. We easily accomplished the picnic lunch with temps soaring into the 50’s that day. Not so easy to find any animals….again.

We saw the polar bear pacing in his rocky habitat, back and forth on the edge of his swimming pool. He looked sad. It made me feel sad too. I thought of the melting polar ice caps and the bear’s cousins up north trying to catch their seal dinners… I felt guilty for enjoying the balmy January weather.

Maybe we should help him?

There were many children at the zoo that day besides the ones belonging to Mother Goose. They were noisy and obnoxious kids, howling and hooting like they had escaped from a gothic mental hospital. Maybe their mothers had brought them to the zoo to exchange them for Howler Monkeys.

We quickly made an escape down the Salt Creek Trail for some peace and quiet. Mother Goose loves to stroll through forested areas, especially places with water and waterfowl.

Still. Calm. Peaceful.

We were blessed to see a Trumpeter Swan out in the middle of the lake.

So quiet you could hear a pinfeather drop.

And, lo and behold, a random dino out in the woods!

Lo and behold!

The kids took a few rides at the zoo. It was nearly like a carnival with so many interesting rides to choose from. But not very many animals…

Please try not to smile...

We found many interesting signs about animals and nature and birds. But, we didn’t come to the zoo to read signs.

“Most of American life consists of driving somewhere and then returning home, wondering why the hell you went.” John Updike

Why did we even come to the zoo?

Were we really looking at the animals?

What were we really looking for at the zoo?

Why was this revisitation so important to us?

Could returning to the zoo bring back the wonderful memories of the week before when our whole family was together in a magical and unforgettable zoo adventure?

Was it possible to travel back in time if we returned to the exact same location and wished for it with all our hearts?

If we get very quiet and close our eyes, maybe…

Finally, Mother Goose has proclaimed this a day of blessing! Hug your babies and your honeys! Dance under the moonlight! Be still and know that God loves you just the way you are — no returns, no exchanges! He threw away the receipts, and He’s planning to keep you no matter what.

Mother Goose Takes the Family to the Zoo

The family of Mother Goose loves animals so it was not huge surprise to see us at the Brookfield Zoo last week. It was very pretty with all the Christmas lights. I must admit it was a very big surprise to learn that there were no animals on display. I guess they were all hibernating or they’d migrated south for the winter. We’ve had a mild winter, and I had expected that we’d see some wildlife. Mother Goose was right.

The family of Mother Goose WAS the wildlife at the zoo. And THAT’s a blessing!

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