Boo-Hoo Zoo

I was a horrible role model on Thursday when I pulled my daughter from preschool for the day to take a trip 2 hours away to the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo. We live in Northwest Ohio and my parents live in Northwest Indiana. Fort Wayne is a good halfway point to meet up for a day trip. Every year we plan to meet at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, but this is the first time we’ve actually attempted it.

Lily was super excited about our trip to the zoo. She talked about throughout the whole ride there and was angry when I stopped at Fort Wayne’s Glenbrook Mall to meet my mom and sister for lunch before we headed to the zoo. “I don’t want lunch. I just want to go to the zoo with Nonni and Emi!” Lily wailed. I was anxious to get to the zoo too, but TGI Friday’s food trumps zoo food.

So we all had lunch together, piled into my mini-van to save on parking and headed for the zoo. And as we got closer we saw a big sign that said “Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo Opens April 23″.

It was April 7. Uh oh.

“That can’t mean it’s closed. Zoos are never closed! It must mean that the Children’s Zoo doesn’t open until April 23,” we said.

Except as the title might imply the entire Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is, well, a children’s zoo.

We pulled up to a lot filled only with employee cars to find all sorts of construction, training and presumably animal care going on, but a zoo that was closed to visitors. No! We had all driven 2 hours to go to this zoo! How could we be so stupid to not check to see that it was open?

None of us had ever considered the fact the zoo might not be open. We’d never heard of a zoo that wasn’t open year round! But apparently the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is only open part of the year. It makes a little sense because the children’s zoo at the Toledo Zoo is only open about 6 months a year too, but that’s only a portion of our zoo. We’re talking about a whole zoo that only functions 6 months a year. Where do the animals go in the winter? What’s the point of staying closed? I don’t understand.

Either way, we were out of luck. When I got home, I went back to the zoo’s website, which I had visited several times prior to our trick. To my horror, I discovered the front page had big bold letters announcing the zoo was opening April 23! I had missed it during several website visits and am the dumbest web user ever.

That said, I might have seen that it said the children’s zoo opens April 23 and not realized the zoo itself was closed. Maybe it should have said “Zoo CLOSED until April 23″. I might have been more inclined to notice that.

Whatever the case, we were out of luck and ended up at Fort Wayne’s Science Central instead. Science Central sucks. It’s crowded, and most of the displays are missing major components. We still had a great time because the main point was to hang out with family, but man, I wish that zoo was open. We played hookie to go to that zoo for nothing!

On the way home, Lily said “What happened to the zoo?” When I explained how we weren’t going, but might try again later this summer when it’s open, she said “I don’t want to go to the Indiana zoo. I just want to go to our zoo. Our zoo is open.”

Yes, it is.

Seriously, I never heard of a zoo that wasn’t open all year. I’m having a hard time getting my mind around the shock of it all. Why, Fort Wayne, why?!


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