Posts Tagged ‘Druid Hill Park’

The Zoo

April 30, 2018


So, I thought I would celebrate the end of this April challenge by taking a trip to the Zoo. Of course, you don’t know in what order I wrote all of these posts so you bought that line hook line and sinker. I picked the perfect Saturday to go to the Zoo. The sun was shining high up in the sky and there was not even a hint of rain on the horizon. It was about sixty degrees Fahrenheit (16 Celsius) and there was a cool breeze when I set out. I grabbed my phone and my phone battery pack and set out toward the Zoo. To get to the Zoo, I did not climb into my car. I instead decided to walk. Walking would bring me through the woods in Druid Hill Park. This always a slightly challenging but pleasant walk. This time it was filled with Frisbee Golfers. I warily watched them to make sure I did not get accidentally beaned by flying discs.


To get to the Maryland Zoo, I had to actually walk past it first since the gate is on the far side of the park from my house. I walked the two miles to the gate and there was no line even though it was a nice day. It had been more than twenty years since I had been to that zoo even though it has never been far from where I lived (except when I lived in New Jersey). I had no idea where to go and it was way different from when I had last been. I climbed onto a tram that took me to the actual exhibits. The zoo’s land is very big and spread out and after two miles I was glad to sit in a tram for a few minutes. The ride over was pleasant and then I was walking in a sea of people, most of which were tiny children.


The first things that I saw to my right were penguins. I had not really been expecting penguins as Maryland is only frosty part of the year. They were cute little African Penguins, though, not the larger varieties from the extreme South. They happily swam around as I took pictures and observed their shenanigans. I then took a trip to the Polar Bear area. The polar bears pulled a me and decided to stay inside and chill. However, right next to their exhibit is the Rise and Conquer exhibit. For those who do not know, Rise and Conquer are the names of the very real ravens that are brought to every home game of the Ravens football team. Between games and offseason, the two celebrities hang out at the Maryland Zoo in what I can only assume is a private bird apartment. Meanwhile, two celebrity lookalikes greet the crowds out in the public part of the Maryland Zoo. Over the years I have become a little obsessed with ravens partly because my hometown is so obsessed with them too.


From there I pretty much went to grab something to eat since I had not gotten lunch yet. Food was expensive so I just got some cheese fries so I could keep going without overfilling my stomach. It was at this point that I realized that I was not only in a sea of humanity, but I was also in a menagerie of languages and accents. I do not know if this day was different but there were so many people speaking languages other than English. It truly was a melting pot of all these different cultures that were floating around. I definitely thought I heard Japanese, Spanish, and something that sounded Eastern European. I am not sure if the Zoo is a destination for tourists or if it is just a magnet for the more ethnic members of our city. Either way, it was a really interesting soundscape.


After eating, I made my way into the African Journey section. I was ready to really see some animals. I walked along familiar wooden walkways to various animal enclosures and I saw animals from a whole other continent. I was a little disappointed because the leopard and the lions were being shy. I was especially keen on seeing the leopard because it is a variant of the panther which is the namesake of one of my current Tabletop RPG characters. However, there was a zoo employee in front of the cheetahs and she told us all about cheetahs who were busy pressing their noses against the fence as they watched the gazelles run around across the way. For example, I had no idea that cheetah claws do not retract and are therefore dull and are used more as cleats than as knives.


I seem to remember all of the monkeys and apes being in cages in the open air but now they are behind glass in a cool little house. I do remember them fling poop as a kid so I suppose putting them behind glass removes that particular hazard. The place was dark and not exactly conducive to taking pictures as I tended to pick up people’s reflections instead. Still, the monkeys are definitely some of the most interesting because they are the most like us without being us. After seeing so much, I was kind of tired. I did not see anything on the map about a reptile house which used to exist. It was my nemesis growing up but I have since become fascinated with snakes (from afar). I decided that since I had been there for over an hour and the place was not far from closing that it was time to head home. I found my way back to the tram and ended up back at the prairie dogs and then I walked back out through the gate. After that, my home was just another walk away.


As a side note, there were two reasons that I went back to the Zoo after all of these years. The first was that it was an easy Z word. I could have easily written a story about a zoo for dragons or I could have reviewed the movie Zoombies (Zombie zoo animals) but I felt like walking. The other reason was that I am still playing Pokemon Go and I have walked past the zoo enough to know that there are plenty of awesome pokemon in there. Yet again, Pokemon Go inspired me to exercise more than I would have. Thanks to the app, I know that I walked almost exactly 6 km altogether which is nearly 4 miles. There were a lot of hills and such along the way so I definitely felt like I got a good workout. I definitely recommend a trip to the Maryland Zoo.


Something Up at the Zoo

January 9, 2017

So, my birthday happened recently. As I have explained previously, it is the 29th of December which is a very awkward time which means that it has rarely been celebrated by friends. I received a portable cell phone charger as a gift for Christmas so I decided to go into the woods on a long walk to test it out, get some exercise and catch some Pokemon. I took a trip down the familiar Mountain Pass Road. There are no mountains in Baltimore but these roads certainly feel like mountains as they are long and steep. As usual, I started to cast my eyes around to entertain myself. I mean, Pokemon Go is interesting but there is a whole world out there which is way more interesting. Once again, I slipped around the backside of the Maryland Zoo and that is when things got interesting.


Do you see that? Do you see that!? I just happened upon that broken fence and my first thought was that I could easily get onto Zoo property and poke around. Then I quieted that part of me that I have not indulged since middle school when I learned to pick locks. My second thought was that maybe something had escaped. Some new breed of lion that can tear metal and leap fences. I looked around but there was only an old man walking his dog and he seemed unconcerned. So, maybe something had not escaped or at least not recently. Then I started to wonder if something had maybe broken in. Some animal liberator from some idiot group like PETA gets it in their head to release some creatures to prove some point. I know it’s mysterious and totally a sign that something is going on with the zoo.


I tried to shake off the whole fence thing as I walked on. It is not my business to police the zoo or fight rogue animals in the middle of Druid Hill Park. I’ll leave that to zoo security or whatever bounty hunters they might hire. I rounded a few more corners and then I saw something else that freaked me out even more. That is a Device with a capital D. That is not a normal piece of equipment. The first thing I thought was that it was some kind of hydrogen bomb but I bet they make those smaller now. Technology is getting smaller and smaller. Then I wondered what it might actually be. My best guess is that it is a bit of technology that they put near the road so it can be picked up and repaired by their overseers. I think it is some sort of Doctor Moreau-ish equipment for experiments on animals.

Of course, this is not that strange. The current site of the Maryland Zoo is only Site B. I have talked about Three Sisters Pond before but I was shocked to discover the origin of one of my favorite spots to visit. I had always wondered where the actual pond was that the Pokestop described. There is no water. There is not even the sound of water. There is nothing but trees but this week I saw it from a different angle thanks to the vegetation going dormant for winter. The perfect ridges and oval shape of the “pond” proved one thing. It is a sea lion pool or at least it was. What happened to the sea lions? Sacrificed to someone? Something?

There’s nothing I can do. The authorities probably would not believe me. Hell, you probably don’t believe me as you’re reading this. That is alright. I know how to protect myself and ward my house against evil animal experiments that might try to destroy me. In the end, this is Baltimore and whatever it is probably is not tougher than this city. We will be fine.

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