Today was fun! We met up with Calladus and his wife at the Fresno Zoo (technically called the "Chaffee Zoo"). P4 had been wanting to go to the zoo for a very long time and we figured his birthday was a great excuse. The day went very nicely. I used my UV blocking clothes. Although, I figured out a problem with these items of clothing. The weave is so heavy that it's unbearable to wear them in the oppressive heat of the Central Valley. It was easily over 100F. I wore the pants but had to ditch the long sleeve top because of the heat. No shocker, then, that my arms broke out almost immediately. It was so bad that Calladus noted it right off. I also forgot to take my mask along. DOH! BUT, we did have the wheelchair. It was my first time on a family vacay since we went to Cambria last year for the day. Before that...it's been two years since we did anything like this.
The kids had a lot of fun. P3 was taken with the elephants. P4 liked the camel. We got to do a stingray encounter where we could sit on the sides of a salt water pool and touch the rays as they swam by. It was amazing. None of us imagined that they would be slimy.
A few of them got into "race mode" and started doing laps. I had no idea how fast they could be.
We also saw a giraffe trying to get fresh with a tree wrapped in caging. I swear that this is the goofiest giraffe I have ever seen. It made for great pics.
LOL. Nice tongue! Then he started opening his mouth and...I'm not sure what he was doing. Singing? Or, just yawning? I don't know. Any giraffe experts out there?
We saw many animals, but I have to say that the animals I most enjoyed were the elephants.
I'm amazed at how well they use their trunks to accomplish so many different things. The dexterity they display is amazing. We got to watch them being fed! The trainer through in bags of Timothy Hay and we watched in awe as these two elephants approached us (within ten feet) and started taking the hay out of the bags, as if they were handling fine china.
While we were walking through the zoo, it struck me that all of these animals, at one point (long, long, long ago) shared a common ancestor with us. I've heard Creationists go on-and-on about the diversity in the animal kingdom and how they interpret this as evidence that God created everything. But, what struck me was not how different these animals were. When you observe these animals, you see that they definitely have personalities and talents specific to their environment. I was looking at the tapirs and I remembered a quote from The Ancestor's Tale (Richard Dawkins) that talked about the similarities in species you wouldn't even guess were related. The tapirs are related to horses and rhinos. But, they look like a relative of a pigs or anteaters. Not even remotely close to reality! "The first true tapirs, appeared in the Oligocene, and by the Miocene, such genera as Miotapirus were almost indistinguishable to the extant species. It is believed that Asian and American tapirs diverged around 20 to 30 million years ago, and that tapir varieties moved from North America to Central and South America around 3 million years ago." (Encyclopedia Brittanica) The Oligocene was 55 million years ago. Contrast tapirs to homosapiens: "Modern Man" originated 250,000 years ago.
While I was thinking about this on the way home, the absurdity of creationism hit me like a ton of bricks. How can these people claim objectivity or plausibility? Anyone with half a brain can see the evidence of evolution. Why do they cling to the idea that a Creator made all of these examples of life in the animal kingdom but didn't have the talent or resources to make them genetically different? Is it because they don't care or don't want to learn? Is it easier to remain ignorant? They are missing out on these amazing realizations to please a deity that does not exist and keep a 2,000 year old book from becoming obsolete. Those are shitty reasons for ignorance.