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Our 2009 Road Trip, Part 21: 2 Wild 2 Kingdom

white tiger!

A white tiger happy to get some peace and quiet far away from Siegfried and Roy.

I’m typing this on the Third of July, Independence Eve, a time when a lot of internet users are either binge-watching, traveling, or stocking up on recreational explosives to celebrate the United States of America’s birthday (observed). Clicking is down, my energy levels are even farther down, my movie reviews are caught up for now, my to-do list for coming events feels infinite in length, and I have six episodes of Luke Cage season 2 left to burn through. For my own reasons I don’t feel like skipping MCC too much this week, but now’s not the time for that 2000-word essay on social awkwardness that’s been coalescing in my head since last December.

Oh, hey, everyone loves animals, right?

Eureka.

(P.S.: Happy Fourth of July from us here at Midlife Crisis Crossover! Remember, don’t drink and firecracker, especially around pets, who hate hate HATE your proud fireworks display.)

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Our 2009 Road Trip, Part 20: Omaha’s Wild Kingdom

Owl!

Paranoid owl is ON TO YOU.

Longtime MCC readers know we made a habit of doing at least one zoo or amusement park on every road trip while he was young, as a compromise so he’d have something to look forward to besides history museums and roadside oddities. As for this particular trip, you’d think we’d be burned out on animals by now after our experiences at Custer State Park and Reptile Gardens. Regardless of redundancy or overkill, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo came recommended to us, and gave us a benign activity to kick off what would become yet another day of never-ending driving.

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Our 2009 Road Trip, Part 15: Cold Shoulders from the Cold-Blooded

tortoise!

“Do I look hungry? Do I look to you like someone who needs fed like a baby?”

In the early years when my son tagged along on our travels, we made a point of including at least one amusement park or zoo on every road trip. That requirement faded as we got older, but we were happy to make time for animals if we found any interesting habitats along our paths.

Technically we’d already filled our 2009 quota at Custer State Park. We found it wasn’t South Dakota’s only wildlife habitat, and were curious to see if the Mount Rushmore State had other animals to offer besides panhandling burros and jaywalking bison.

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Our 2009 Road Trip, Part 12: Burros Barge in Where the Buffalo Roam

burro!

That time we came under scrutiny from the South Dakota Burro of Investigation.

In the early years when my son tagged along on our travels, we made a point of including at least one amusement park or zoo on every road trip. That requirement faded as we got older, but we were happy to make time for animals if we found any interesting habitats along our paths.

In one South Dakota state park, it was the animals’ turn to come up and stare at us.

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Our 2010 Road Trip, Part 12: Mandatory Zoo Visit

Panamanian golden frogs!

Panamanian golden frogs — critically endangered, rather poisonous, and adorable hanging together from their little leaf shelter.

Before writing this chapter, Anne and I watched the first episode of the BBC’s inspiring, horrifying, utterly gorgeous Planet Earth II on Netflix, and now I’m ashamed of every inadequate animal photo we’ve ever taken. But let’s proceed with another batch of zoo memories anyway.

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Our 2010 Road Trip, Part 6: The Zoo That Chocolate Built

Chocolate Deer!

Sorry, chocoholics, this yummy-looking deer is merely a display item.

In my son’s youth we tried to accommodate him on our road trips with at least one kid-friendly stop, usually either an amusement park or zoo. This year, thanks to the generosity of groundbreaking chocolatier Milton Hershey, we got two for the price of one.

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