“It’s all happening at the zoo. I do believe it. I do believe it’s true.”

The Assiniboine Park Zoo announced it was opening its doors again on Wednesday May 13!  I waited a few days deciding to give the animals time to get used to people again. Driving into the zoo parking lot on Sunday, eschewing long lines of people, I immediately turned back out.

On Wednesday there was no line.  My  zoo membership card ensured I was welcomed both warmly and quickly.  Most of the animals sported a COVID 19 look! The bison, the elks, the wolves, and even

Simon the fox looked particularly shaggy, all seeming a little uncomfortable wearing the remains of winter fur in the 25 C heat.  The bison rolled and rolled attempting to shed.

(I sympathized. Only five days before I managed to get my own three month growth shorn!)  The flora had exploded into blossom. Colour everywhere.

The little aspen tree leaves fluttered noisily in the breeze.  Cougar, Ibex, Joey kangaroo, and even the arctic fox, usually reticent to be visible, seemed to be ‘putting on a show’.  One enclosure near the Spider Monkeys sported a sign “welcome back humans”.   And the humans dutifully but enthusiastically followed the arrows on the set path.

A polar bear’s response was somewhat apathetic, seeming to ignore everyone.  Not seeming interested in us even as possible nourishment, he simply presented us his backside to the delight of the children.  But that did not dampen my spirits or anyone else’s.

Cheerfully I followed the marked route to my favourite ice cream booth near Stingray Beach, and then to the improvised exit and the parking lot.  A joyful visit.  It was good to be back.

Frank Obrigewitsch, SJ, is pastor of St. Ignatius parish in Winnipeg.

  • Lorella D'Cruz
    Posted at 09:09h, 06 August Reply

    I enjoyed reading this, especially since here in Melbourne, Australia, we are going through a second wave of COVID-19 and are rather short of any form of entertainment, be it the movies or zoo. Even visits to the hairdresser are taboo – so shaggy locks are de rigueur and will perhaps take on as the latest trend in hairdos. It’s now a case of dog owners resembling their pooches, not the other way around!!

  • Peter Bisson
    Posted at 10:41h, 06 August Reply

    Welcome back! Thank you Frank.

  • Connie SHAW
    Posted at 11:43h, 28 April Reply

    Frank, I love your writings, especially of the Zoo. I liked your zen polar bear. They are my favorite creature.
    Do you know of a program on CBC called “Artic Vets”. They do some of their filming at Assiniboine. Thanks for highlighting the joy of all of God’s creation!

    • Roy Frank Obrigewitsch
      Posted at 11:33h, 29 April Reply

      Thanks. I’ll have to check out “Artic Vets””. The Zoo is one of my favourite places!

  • Peter Bisson
    Posted at 13:21h, 28 April Reply

    Thank you Frank!

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