We love the Houston Zoo. We try to go pretty regularly, and we even have a few must see animals that we hurry to see when we first walk through the gate. In fact, we love the zoo so much that I have fantasized on more than one occasion about quitting my job and training to become a zoo keeper.

Last night, the Houston Zoo hosted its annual Zoobilee, and of course, we went. Many of the trainers were out to talk about the animals, and there were games and fun activities for kids. We even got some free animal crackers.

We went to see the elephants first (as we always do). The trainer was there talking about the new elephants and their behaviors. We have met the elephant trainers before, but we always relish the opportunity of hearing every detail of the elephants' lives, especially the new baby Tuck and the expectant mother Shanti. Incidentally, elephants gestate for two years - yes, two years, followed by the birth of a 300 pound calf!

We also got to see the cheetahs fetch balls. The cheetahs are in my top five (along with the sea lions, elephants, orangutans, and sea turtles). The new "world's cutest animal" has just arrived, so we got to see him too. He is a red panda named Toby, and he is indeed very cute. They are trying to find him a mate, so they can have the "world's cutest baby animals." The other highlight of our time at the zoobilee was of course the sea lion show, my personal favorite. The sea lion reminds me so much of our dog. She knows how to do many tricks, but sometimes she lacks the focus to do them and instead gives the trainer the just-give-me-a-treat-already face that our dog so frequently gives us.

I was thinking today about what my display would look like if I lived at the zoo. First, I would be listed as a thriving species, not endangered like the orangutans. There would be information about my diet (In the wild, EKH normally eats vegetables, roasted animals, and large amounts of chemical preservatives and artificials flavors.) and my reproductive habits (You thought I was just going to give that away without you paying admission?). There would be a map showing my normal habitat range (anywhere with decent weather and a vibrant urban life). There would also be a chart of my most notable adaptations (opposable thumbs, bipedalism, the ability to reason, and the ability to play dead when his head touches a pillow). People would come and take pictures of me and comment on everything I did:

"Mom, look! He's checking his e-mail."
"He eats so fast!"
"Why is he always asleep when we come?"

When I boil my life down to zoo facts, it seems pretty awesome. I think that is probably why I like hearing the trainers talk about the animals. They have a relationship with them. They tell you about all the things a "Wikipedia" page won't. Up close like that, these animals don't seem much different than me, except they are a lot less shy about using public restrooms.

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