I was able to spend a short weekend in Fort Wayne, Indiana, thanks to the Fort Wayne Convention and Visitors Bureau. One of my stops was the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo.
Despite what the name says, there are absolutely no children on display at the zoo, just animals. I tried telling my kids that there would actually be children held in captivity, in their natural habitat, but they had been there once before, and apparently knew better.
The FWCZ is huge. It’s a privately run organization that relies strictly on donations and memberships — no grants or government funding. But it’s a well-run zoo.
The zoo is broken up into different regions of the world, including Africa, Asia, Australia, and America. The African section was so huge, it took us 90 minutes to get through it. My family blamed some of that on my constant photo taking, but I don’t believe it: it doesn’t take that long to take 240 photos.
In Africa, we saw lions, got to feed giraffes, took a sky car ride (sort of like a ski lift), and got to see the entire section of the zoo from 40 feet in the air. And I was only scared a little. My 7-year-old son thought it was a blast.
Later, while we were walking past that wildebeest and zebra section of the park, I pointed at one of the wildebeests, and said to my son, “Hey, do you see that gnu?” (I pronounced it g-nu). “What’s a gnu?” he asked. “Not much, what’s gnu with you?” and then I cracked up.
Unfortunately, nobody else thought this was funny, but I put that down to the heat, and the fact that everyone was hot and thirsty.
By the time we left Africa, we were fairly tired. We made a quick detour to see the red panda in Asia, and then stopped in America for a tour of the farm, where we all got to pet goats.
If we hadn’t pooped out, we could have stayed longer. But as it was, the time there was very enjoyable. That was my third time to visit the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, and my kids have enjoyed it every time. Since we have family in the area, we’ll be back again for a future visit, and a chance to see more of the rest of the world in Allen County.
“What’s gnu with you?” That’s gold, people!
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