Who needs an Elk Grove zoo? Filling an educational hole with entertainment options

By Michael Monasky | Guest opinion | I find zoos depressing. All those exotic, powerful and grand animals restricted to cages, or at best a...

By Michael Monasky | Guest opinion |

I find zoos depressing. All those exotic, powerful and grand animals restricted to cages, or at best an acre of free range (as if they were chickens.) As far as I can tell, the zoo demonstrates the fleeting dominance of humans over Mother Nature. We might be slower than a cheetah, weaker than a lion, uglier than snakes...but who’s in the cage now…?

I’m particularly taken by the giraffes, as if their long necks are a mere challenge in engineering a roost high enough for humans to feed them directly to their faces. My mind wanders: when will Geoffrey Giraffe reject his food and open his mouth wide enough to swallow whole one of the babes proffered in papas’ arms?

To me, a zoo is a circus. It is a resource for bored suburban families. It is also an institution of cruelty to elephants; that’s why the traditional wild animal circus has been banned.

A zoo is not a place to learn about animals. Oh, sure...there is a veterinarian in charge, and there might even be medical students in attendance. But we don’t go there to learn about the animals. We have our cameras set for selfies. We go there to be entertained.

Bethlem Royal Hospital in London plays an important role deep in British penology. Founded in the thirteenth century, it is the oldest continuously operating insane asylum in human history. Its ironic name is a contraction of the place name Bethlehem, and is the root of the word bedlam, used to describe mental institutions. In the eighteenth century, members of the public could pay to tour the establishment and view the mad antics of the inmates. 

Elk Grove already has a prison, the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center. Before I would dare recommend the County charge admission to witness fistfights amongst the inmates there, I’d suggest that this city council sell tickets for the public to view its own stupidity and cruelty in its deliberations, especially when it comes to managing a zoo. At least then, it could afford it.

Photo by Tina Nord via Pexels.

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D.J. Blutarsky said...

I agree with Mr. Monasky! Zoos represent one more Participation Trophy of Man's dominion over the earth.  But in Elk Grove, the zoo will also be a Grand Prize trophy for the City Council looking to cement their legacy in the dark annals of Elk Grove history. 

After all, isn't it a great political achievement to use the taxpayers checkbook to help prop up another money-losing venue and get a large bronze plaque with their name on it at the entrance!

If we're lucky, maybe they can also get us an arcade with a Pin-The-Tail-On-The-Donkeys game in one of the restaurants!

Renegade said...

There is a lot of truth here. May not be the legacy Madame Mayor will appreciate in her later years. Let's bring the world-class soccer, softball facilities your predecessors dreamed of? We could all be proud of those. Cater to our youth, they are our future.

Juan Trippe said...

When this thing gets built, who can afford to go there? And if you can afford to go there, how often will people go? Once every ten or twenty years?

Steve L said...

Council needs to put this project on a ballot with full disclosure of estimated costs and fees. I’m betting voters have serious reservations. Tax costs will be enormous, forever!

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