If you take exit 4 off of 430 and head North on Fair Park, you'll find yourself at the Little Rock Zoo. I did just that this Sunday with my sister and niece who were in visiting for the weekend. We're no San Diego, but we've got our share of lions, tiger and bears.
It's been years since I've been to a zoo to watch God's creatures in pseudo-natural habitats doing animalish things like eating carrot bits or napping in the shade, and I'd forgotten how entertaining it can be. We explored the zoo for about five hours, then picked our favorite sights.
My niece, who I call Peanut, liked the train the best and the giraffes second best.
I liked the Malaysian bear that was seriously contemplating the logistics of jumping the safety-ditch that separated him from an eight year-old boy. In the end he decided not to chance it and took his two-inch claws to the shade. And I also liked the giraffes.
Among the runners-up for best animal were the young chimp who swung around collecting food, the gorilla who sat and stared out the gate, the woolly bear who looked like he might hyperventilate, a bald eagle who held a man by the arm (the man said he was doing the holding, but we all know who was in charge), the inexplicably cute groundhogs, and a ginormous tortoise that may or may not have been dead...I'm just saying, no creature should be that still for that long.
Some of the animals that didn't make it past the first elimination round were the otters who hid from view, all snakes for obvious reasons, the birds who stood on two legs, lazy alligators, the donkey--yes, we have a donkey in our zoo, but its in the kids' section (yes, our zoo has a kids' section)--orangutans, and very small turtles, even though they were visibly alive.
It was a fun day and a good reminder what a splendidly creative God we have. And as funky as the wildlife on this planet is, I bet we ain't seen nothin' yet. Imagine what Heaven will be like? Okay, I'm going to get brain-burn trying to stretch that far, but I'm so grateful that God is genius, inventive, original, and endless. May I never stop being surprised by what He can make.
Mad props to you, God, for the animal kingdom, even the parts we haven't discovered yet. You are so vast and so glorious. Thanks for Julia and Peanut and a reminder of who you are. All my love.