Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. Spencer Jack took his mom, Jenny, to the zoo to meet his aunt, that being my eldest sister, and his namesake, that being my ex-wife.
Behind Spencer Jack is part of the African Savanna exhibit. When the African Savanna opened in 1980 it was the first of its kind, won awards and spawned similar exhibits in other zoos.
Only the Bronx Zoo in New York City has won more Best National Exhibit awards from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums than Woodland Park Zoo.
My sister had not been to Woodland Park Zoo since the exhibits went natural. I don't think she'd been there since back when Bobo the Gorilla was the big attraction.
I forget when, exactly, but back in either the late 60s or early 70s there was a massive bond issue in the Seattle zone called Forward Thrust. Voters approved all sorts of things. Like building the (now dead) Kingdome, fixing up Pike Place Market, upgrading Woodland Park Zoo, building water treatment plants on Puget Sound and Lake Washington, that returned those bodies of water to their former salmon supporting clean glory, and I forget what else.
The voter's rejected building a rail transit system. That is now seen as a big mistake that only started to get rectified in the 1990s.
My sister takes off for Alaska next week, with Denali National Park as one of her destinations. I don't know if she took Spencer to the Northern Trail exhibit yesterday. It is made to look like a trail in Denali National Park. My last visit to Woodland Park Zoo was soon after that exhibit opened in 1994. I remember coming face to face with a big black bear, underwater, and being a little startled.
I've only been to the Fort Worth Zoo once. I did not find it a very pleasant experience.
I remember my first year in Texas some friends had friends visiting from Washington and they took the Washingtonians to the Fort Worth Zoo. I remember one of them verbalizing being amazing at some of the tackiness, mentioning one thing in particular, saying something like, "They have ad signs all over, that'd never fly in Seattle, things like Cheetah Exhibit Sponsored by Cheetos."
I remember being appalled by the aquarium. It smelled really bad and had all sorts of sea critters roaming around in one big tank.
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