Jun 17 2007
As Father’s Day arrives, my thoughts turn back to one of my favorite childhood memories: hanging out with my dad at the Zoo in Winnipeg.
My mom took my brother and sisters and I there a lot, too. We always had a great time.
But I remember my father’s enthusiasm for those happy little field trips. The zoo is really spread out – or at least it seemed so to a kid with short legs – but we never took any shortcuts.
I remember starting out at the polar bear habitat. I would lean up against the rails overlooking their enclosure as high as I could to see them closer. Usually, they were sleeping, but occasionally, they’d put on a bit of a show, racing from one side of the rocky habitat to the other (before taking another nap). My dad kept a hand on me just to reassure me I that I wouldn’t fall in.
I think the monkeys came soon after. My father usually had some little bit of trivia ready for us by then. He would teach us things about the animals, things that they hadn’t even put on the signs on the habitats, so I knew he was a smart man.
Near the camel pasture, there was an ice cream stand. Most of the time, my dad would get us a snack there. I usually chose ice cream, sometimes caramelized popcorn.
Then we’d wander into the tropical house. There was a section for the nocturnal animals where one has to go through a darkened tunnel. My dad would hold my hand so I didn’t bump into a wall or get left behind.
The rest of the way, we all slowed our pace. Partly, it was from just being tired from all the walking, but partly it was because we just didn’t want to leave. Lots of times, we would go back to our favorite part just to see the animals one last time.
I don’t live in Winnipeg anymore and I don’t get to see my dad as much, since we live in different cities. But next time he’s in town, I think we should go to the Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park. I think he’d like it.
And this time, I’ll buy the ice cream.
Love you, dad.