Studio Brunstrum

“At the Zoo”

July 23, 2015

“Someone told me it’s all happening at the zoo. I do believe it, I do believe it’s true.” ~Simon and Garfunkel

“Someone told me it’s all happening at the zoo. I do believe it, I do believe it’s true.”  ~Simon and Garfunkel 

Simon and Garfunkel were right – it is all happening at the zoo! I have always been a huge zoo fan, thanks to my parents who took us to the Milwaukee Zoo every year. (My Dad didn’t like driving into the city to Lincoln Park.) Of course, it always seemed like we chose the hottest day of the year for our outing, but it didn’t matter. My sisters and I always had a blast.

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I remember one trip when my youngest sister Jenny was two or three years old. She couldn’t say hippopotamus, so she just chanted “hippa hoppa, hippa hoppa,” as we came around the bend to view the hippos. There were about six hippos at that time and one was frolicking in the mud pretty close to the railing where my Dad was standing with Jenny on his shoulders.  He shot out a stream of water from his mouth and splattered both of them. Jenny thought it was funny, my Dad, not so much. Of course I thought it was hysterical because I did not get splattered with muddy water!

Every city I visit I try to make a point of going to the zoo. I could watch the animals for hours. I love the facial expressions on the gorillas and the way they care for their young. I think the zebras and giraffes are extra special because no two have the same markings – stripes or spots!

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I don’t think I’ve ever met a zoo I didn’t love, especially Lincoln Park, which I now visit at least once a month year-round because it is within walking distance of my condo. Recently I went with my friends Betsy and Keith Chaitoff and we were so captivated by the giraffes – some have brown spots,others brown with darker markings in the center. Did you know that only in the past couple of decades have scientists discovered that there are many subspecies of giraffe?  And genetic research from just a few years ago suggests there are at least nine different giraffe species altogether!

Be sure to check out the Lincoln Park Conservatory too. I loved the sausage tree and all the odd names of the plants. We even had a chat with the “fern caretaker.” He has been there for many years and is super knowledgeable but very persnickety about his work. The orchid room is a must see as well. Fun fact: Orchids are grown all over the world, even in cold climates. I never knew that…

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Check out these sites for the newest arrivals at Lincoln Park and Brookfield Zoos and panda cubs born June 26 at Lincoln Park and a baby zebra at Brookfield on July 12.

Photo Courtesy of Brookfield Zoo

Haven’t been to the zoo for a while because you’re kids are grown? Consider these two“grown-up” events at Lincoln Park – a “Wine and Wildflowers Garden Party” July29 and two after-hours “Adults Night Out” on Fridays, July 24 and Aug. 21, with animal chats, food, cash bars and a DJ. For more details visit

And remember what Simon and Garfunkel sang: “What a gas, you got to come and see at the zoo.”

Susan Brunstrum
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