The Memphis Zoo has quite a history. It started when citizens became concerned about Natch, the brown bear mascot of a local baseball team at the turn of the 20th Century. The bear needed a place to stay. The city donated land in an old growth forest called Overton Park, enough money to build Natch a home and the zoo began. It has since grown into the most visited attraction in the city. Bears — like the polar bear above among other wild critters — still call it home ...
... the polar bear exhibit is a favorite. The bears cavort behind a plate glass wall which reveals them swimming through their pool to the delight of visitors, including Max, center, who manages to get ...
... a high-five from the bear before departing for other exhibits.
Except for a few short years in Miami, Carolyn has spent her entire career as a zookeeper in Memphis. She loves the giraffes, but her favorite is the aging rhinoceros a few enclosures down the way. Carolyn says the old girl must be something of a beauty in the rhinoceros world. She has given birth to 10 babies during her lifetime.
This is the closest I've been to a grizzle bear. I was close one other time. I was trekking up a trail through a high alpine meadow in the Rocky Mountains when I saw one loping toward me. There was nowhere to hide, no trees to climb — and running was not a good option — so I stood still and waited. As he approached he stopped, reared on his hind legs, sniffed the air, then — deciding I was nothing of interest — passed by 20 or 30 yards distant. They are much better viewed at close range when behind plate glass.
We finish our day at the Birds and Bees Exhibit — yes, that's what it's called — where Dianne, left, and Sherianne, right, "bee" it up ...
... and Max feeds parakeets seeds on a stick. Like I said, Memphis has quite a zoo, with a little something for everyone.
Photographs taken with a Canon 5D Mark II