Monday, July 6, 2009

The Zoo

The San Francisco Zoo is celebrating its 80th year. If you visit the website, you can see historic photos and videos and download the latest annual report which has a lot of great photos in it.

There will be a historical tour on August 1st. You can meet the author of the new book about the zoo. I bought my copy of "Images of America: San Francisco Zoo" by Katherine Girlich in the gift shop. It will be carried at bookstores, too. I enjoyed all the photos, some of them jarred long buried memories, like the trash cans with the enormous animal heads.

New at the Zoo, as part of their conservation and historical focus, is one of the 1906 Earthquake shacks. You can read all about them and the preservation efforts of the Western Neighborhoods Project here.

There have been so many changes at the zoo. There are a lot of things I miss. One day I will have been using the "new" entrance longer than I ever used the old one, but it will never be the same.

I took this shot of the Mother's building last Fall.

Like many people I have mixed feelings about zoos. Some argue that kids can see wildlife on television, so we no longer need to keep animals in captivity for them to experience. Some of the photos of animals make me sad, as do my memories of the old small cat cages.

I do know that the changes I lament about the zoo are made in large part to improve the animals' surroundings. There is still a lot to be done. I'll miss the old buildings, they are so tied to my childhood memories.

An inexpensive ($3.50) book published by the zoo in 2004 is for sale in the gift shop. It is only 32 pages long, but well worth the cost. It has color photos, and are not all the same as the Arcadia Publishing book.


AphotoAday said...

Oh yeah, the zoo... I've only been there two times in recent years but right now I'm itching to go for a third...

They were just finishing up making the lion enclosures more escape proof when I was there last... Such an avoidable tragedy that happened, but I've gotta wonder sometimes who is more civilized -- the animals or the visitors...

Memories of the zoo must be some of my first... So well I remember Monkey Island... I still call the place "Fly-swatter Zoo"...

Al_Pal said...

Neat, thanks!

I've only been once, in 2002. Been thinking about going back for awhile.

(I hope the orangutan is happier this time!)