Leaping Off the “Tiger King” Circus Wagon

I Saw a Tiger!

Out-of-context snippet from Netflix’s sing-a-long lyrics-video version of Joe Exotic’s “I Saw a Tiger”. Follow the bouncing tiger cub head. Yes, really.

I’m sorry, I just…I can’t with this anymore.

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2 Hours of Jazz, 40 Minutes of Animals: Indy Zoo Revue #10

lemur concentrating!

A ring-tailed lemur trying really hard to concentrate despite distracting humans.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: our family has been to our Indianapolis Zoo several times over the years. Now that my son is an adult and we’ve seen most of the animals a dozen times each, attendance for us isn’t an annual tradition, but we’ll drop in from time to time for special occasions.

Last week my wife Anne and I availed ourselves of a five-week event series called “Animals and All That Jazz”. Each Thursday evening a different jazz band has been invited to play a concert in their pavilion. Concert tickets cost a bit more, but they included zoo admission and the show lasted until after normal closing time. With a gracious one-time special discount through my employer, the two of us decided to check it out. It was a pleasant getaway from our current restlessness that has us pacing back and forth while waiting for our vacation week to arrive.

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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 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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Our 2008 Road Trip, Part 12: Walk with the Animals, Balk at the Animals

wildcat!

A teenager taking a reluctant wildcat on a walk. What’s the worst that could happen?

When my son was younger and first began tagging along on our road trips in 2003, we tried to include either one zoo or one amusement park on each itinerary as a concession for his sake. We’d already fulfilled the 2008 quota with an entire day spent at Busch Gardens Europe. On our way home we ran across another zoo we hadn’t considered, that hadn’t shown up in our review of mainstream Virginia brochures. We were in the area, the timing was convenient, and the sign out front promised tourists could have their pictures taken with live tiger cubs, presumably small and furry and adorable. That part sounded fun.

I mean, sure, we wound up having one of the most frightening moments in our entire 18-year road trip history. But hey: happy fun animals! Well, some of them. Sorta. The ones that weren’t bitter, at least.

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Halloween at the Zoo! (Indy Zoo Revue #9)

scary Dorothy!

Scene from a darker Oz timeline in which the Wicked Witch’s hourglass ran out…but Dorothy didn’t let that get in the way of vengeance.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

In June my wife Anne and I took my mom for a walk around the premises of our own Indianapolis Zoo to check out the current residents and the architectural upgrades on a sunny but not-so-sweltering Saturday. In this very special miniseries, we’ll take a look at the beasts and critters who welcomed us and hundreds of other families along the way.

We’ve been to the Indianapolis Zoo several times over the years. A couple of times, we’ve paid visits to check out their holiday programming.

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Indy Zoo Revue Finale: Habitats & Handicraft

Orangutanorama!

This one’s for the orangutans. Just the orangutans.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

In June my wife and I took my mom for a walk around the premises of our own Indianapolis Zoo to check out the current residents and the architectural upgrades on a sunny but not-so-sweltering Saturday. In this very special miniseries, we’ll take a look at the beasts and critters who welcomed us and hundreds of other families along the way.

We conclude these galleries with a look at the scenes behind the animals — the spacious, sometimes lavish enclosures provided for the various residents at our zoo. When I was a kid, the old zoo on the east side was all about stacks of metal cages, concrete floors, and tightly crowded wildlife as depressing sideshow. My family has seen a number of zoos around the country over the past dozen years and appreciate those that defy the obsolete paradigm. If they can tuck in a few works of art around the edges for value-added visual flair, so much the better.

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Indy Zoo Revue #7: Last Call for Critters

Giraffe Head!

To their credit, giraffes sound absolutely nothing like David Schwimmer in person.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

In June my wife and I took my mom for a walk around the premises of our own Indianapolis Zoo to check out the current residents and the architectural upgrades on a sunny but not-so-sweltering Saturday. In this very special miniseries, we’ll take a look at the beasts and critters who welcomed us and hundreds of other families along the way.

In today’s chapter: one last miscellaneous mammalian menagerie — all the remaining animals that caught our eyes and got caught on camera just right.

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Indy Zoo Revue #6: A Cold-Blooded Cache

Turtle!

Turtle. Tortoise. Terrapin. Shell guy. Whatever.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

In June my wife and I took my mom for a walk around the premises of our own Indianapolis Zoo to check out the current residents and the architectural upgrades on a sunny but not-so-sweltering Saturday. In this very special miniseries, we’ll take a look at the beasts and critters who welcomed us and hundreds of other families along the way.

In today’s chapter: a smattering of reptiles from the Zoo’s climate-controlled Deserts enclosure. Plus one amphibian for, like, diversity or whatever.

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Indy Zoo Revue #5: Everybody in the Water

Walrus at Attention!

“I’m sorry, we will not be taking any questions at this press conference, but thank you for showing up and lavishing attention on me anyway.”

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

In June my wife and I took my mom for a walk around the premises of our own Indianapolis Zoo to check out the current residents and the architectural upgrades on a sunny but not-so-sweltering Saturday. In this very special miniseries, we’ll take a look at the beasts and critters who welcomed us and hundreds of other families along the way.

In today’s chapter: a selection of our zoo’s waterborne creatures — mostly mammals, but with a few fish flung into the fray for fun.

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Indy Zoo Revue #4: The Birds II: Budgie & Lorie

Polychromatic!

The A-list diva emerges from the crowd and allows you to bask in her presence.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

In June my wife and I took my mom for a walk around the premises of our own Indianapolis Zoo to check out the current residents and the architectural upgrades on a sunny but not-so-sweltering Saturday. In this very special miniseries, we’ll take a look at the beasts and critters who welcomed us and hundreds of other families along the way.

In today’s chapter: another batch of birds, this time focused in two interactive enclosures where visitors could get up close to the wildlife, feed them on a limited basis, and pray they don’t choose that day to rebel.

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Indy Zoo Revue #3: Reluctant Monkeys

Orangutan Meet + Greet!

Just another humdrum work day for the new orangutan clerk at the Zootopia DMV.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

In June my wife and I took my mom for a walk around the premises of our own Indianapolis Zoo to check out the current residents and the architectural upgrades on a sunny but not-so-sweltering Saturday. In this very special miniseries, we’ll take a look at the beasts and critters who welcomed us and hundreds of other families along the way.

In today’s chapter: monkeys! Often the highlight of a zoo visit as they’re frolicking and gallivanting and perpetrating mischief on each other…um, we picked a bad Saturday for them, apparently. Mostly we found simians in a state of quiet solemnity, relaxing where they were and pondering their life choices. As with us humans, not every day is a party for one of nature’s most party-hearty animals.

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Indy Zoo Revue #2: The Birds!

Flamingo diva!

“Hey, human! If you run into John Waters sometime, ask him why he won’t take our calls, will ya?”

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

In June my wife and I took my mom for a walk around the premises of our own Indianapolis Zoo to check out the current residents and the architectural upgrades on a sunny but not-so-sweltering Saturday. In this very special miniseries, we’ll take a look at the beasts and critters who welcomed us and hundreds of other families along the way.

In today’s chapter: feathers! Wings! Beaks! Colors! And one special visitor for the holiday, trying his best not to be seen.

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Indy Zoo Revue #1: Lions and Tigers and Bears!

Bear + Stump!

“Sure hope you’re not waiting for me to get my butt stuck inside that stump like that idiot Winnie-the-Pooh.”

Longtime MCC readers have perused galleries of the various zoos we’ve visited throughout the course of our annual road trips, from San Antonio to Minnesota to Atlanta to Queens to my favorite so far at the base of Cheyenne Mountain (the prologue, the main event, and the best part). When our long-term MCC remastering project is completed over the next year or so, readers will also eventually be treated to pics of our experiences in Omaha, Philadelphia, and The Worst Zoo We’ve Ever Visited, which shall remain nameless for now. And those were just the menageries we’ve seen with the word “zoo” in their titles.

But we don’t have to leave town to see animals. I mean, besides the occasional deer and rabbits we see in our suburb, or the coyote that I’ve heard are skulking around other neighborhoods. We’re fortunate to live in a city with its own answer to all those options — the Indianapolis Zoo, which has come a long way over the last thirty years from its early days of depressed wildlife hunched over in tiny, stacked chain-link cages. Today their living spaces are vaster, the environments are natural and pretty in their own right, the animals are varied, and the concession stands have made progress in lunchtime edibility and flavors. It’s a fun place to be, but we’ve been to our zoo so many times that it never occurred to me till a couple weeks ago that in five years of Midlife Crisis Crossover, we’ve never posted a single photo of it here. That changes now.

In June my wife and I took my mom for a walk around the premises of our own Indianapolis Zoo to check out the current residents and the architectural upgrades on a sunny but not-so-sweltering Saturday. In this very special miniseries, we’ll take a look at the beasts and critters who welcomed us and hundreds of other families along the way.

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Our 2007 Road Trip, Part 3: Mandatory Zoo Visit

elephant!

A zoo where elephants enjoy their own version of Walden Pond? Sure, why not.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 Anne and I have taken a road trip to a different part of the United States and seen attractions, marvels, history, and institutions we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. For 2007 we changed up our strategy a bit and designed an itinerary for what would prove our most kid-friendly outing ever. Granted, my son was now twelve years old and less kid-like than he used to be, but the idea was sound in principle.

Thus in this year of our Lord did we declare: the Goldens are going to Florida!

Longtime readers have seen the title before. If you don’t know the drill, it’s not hard to figure out. We had time for just one stop on Day Two in Atlanta, which gave us a nice option for crossing “zoo” off the to-do list. It was certainly one of the most sylvan zoos we’ve ever visited, and we had the privilege of seeing one set of very special guest animals that were only in town from overseas for a limited time. It was incentive enough.

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Our 2005 Road Trip, Part 4 of 10: Mandatory Zoo Visit

Butterfly Me!

My impression of Hannibal Lecter’s cage guard.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Welcome to the first installment of another special MCC miniseries, representing the original travelogue from our 2005 drive from Indianapolis to San Antonio, Texas, and back again in far too short a time…

We had one specific tourist attraction we wanted to see in San Antonio, one of their most famous sites and a pivotal location in American history. It’s not hard to guess if you know the area.

But first, a zoo. That’s what happens sometimes when you bring kids on vacation.

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Our 2004 Road Trip, Part 9 of 10: Canadian Critter Cavalcade

Killer Whale!

A much more charming killer whale encounter than when I saw Orca: The Killer Whale at the drive-in at age 5.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Once upon a time in 2004, Anne and I got married and had a honeymoon! A week later, we (and my son) embarked on our fifth annual road trip: a drive northeast from Indianapolis up to see the watery wonders of Niagara Falls and its adjacent tourist traps.

Before our return to America and the long drive home, we just had to hit one more large-scale attraction in Canada. Sure, we could’ve hiked a beautiful Canadian forest, found another river as inspiring as the Niagara, learned some Canadian history in a vintage mansion tour, or gone shopping at an authentic furrier. Instead we took my son’s preferences into consideration and came up with…a zoo.

But not just any old zoo, mind you.

I wish I meant that as more of a compliment.

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2016 NYC Trip Photos #24: Mandatory Zoo Visit

peeking parrot!

Peeking parrot doing its best Laugh-In impression.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year from 1999 to 2015 my wife Anne and I took a road trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. With my son’s senior year in college imminent and next summer likely to be one of major upheaval for him (Lord willing), the summer of 2016 seemed like a good time to get the old trio back together again for one last family vacation before he heads off into adulthood and forgets we’re still here. In honor of one of our all-time favorite vacations to date, we scheduled our long-awaited return to New York City…

Zoos were a staple of our early road trips once my son began tagging along. Now that he’s college age, animal sightseeing isn’t the obligatory concession it once was, but if the option presents itself, we’re open to it.

During our vacation planning, Day Six was one of the first that I’d mapped out before all the rest for a few different reasons. As with our Day Five excursion to the Museum of the Moving Image, Day Six would take us out to Queens, but farther south than the Museum and consequently using a different subway. The Queens Zoo wasn’t a primary objective, but it was close enough to the other sightseeing temptations that I figured why not add it to the mix. No matter how young or old your kids are, animals are cool.

Right this way for EMERGENCY ZOO ANIMALS.

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