Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Zoo That Time Forgot - Part B

After the Dismal Aquarium experience, it's a relief to move on to an exhibit with real live animals. And interpretive plaques (slightly careworn, but aren't we all?) that describe what you're looking at!
"ROUND BARN? No one is sure when the nickname was first used but, the "Round Barn" is actually octagon shaped. Originally built as a horse barn for the Memphis Police Department's Mounted Patrol, it became obsolete when the police began using automobiles. In 1923 it was moved to the Zoo to house hoofed mammals. The stone facades and walls were added in the 1950s. It was last renovated in 1988."

The Round Barn features a number of smallish African animals: dama gazelle, nyala, warthogs, demoiselle cranes, klipspringer antelope, Red River hogs, steenbok, gerenuk, red flanked duiker, and -- always a crowd pleaser -- the tiny dik-dik.




Looks like the nyala got the crappy end of that barnyard.

Did you know warthogs can run up to 30 miles per hour? I'd like to see them try to hit top speed in this cage, but those turns are ridiculously tight.

How to sum up the Round Barn?

It's not terrible. It's nice enough, in an old school chain-link fence kind of way. It's also taking up space that could easily be redeveloped into a shiny new exhibit, especially if combined with the outdated exhibits in Section C.

Until our next installment, I'll leave you to ponder this koan:
Antelope are mostly vegetarians. Some are browsers
that feed on the leaves of bushes and trees.
Others are grazers that eat grass.
Still other antelope are
both browsers and
grazers.


(To be continued...)

2 comments:

jccvi said...

I'm completely with you on this.

The Northwest corner of the Zoo (diagonally northwest from the northwest passage as it turns out)is in need of a serious makeover. It lies in an area of some of the longest exhibit-free walking distances in the park, which results in the farm exhibit getting short shifted. If my daughter weren't so terrified yet strangely compelled by catfish, we'd never make it that way.

This seems like a great area for the Hippo exhibit, even if that would more naturally fit in the "African Veldt" (I love that my three year old is learning Afrikaans).

Bonus: Hippos sound like diesel engines, so at this locations they might be able to converse with the buses at Snowden.

Naomi Van Tol said...

Catfish do touch a primordial nerve, don't they? Your daughter probably knows those big South American beauties would swallow her in two bites if she fell in that tank.

It would totally make sense to replace the Aquarium with Zambezi River. The hippos could bring a little excitement back into the humdrum lives of those poor nyala.

Maybe we need to rearrange that map horizontally instead of vertically.