When you visit the National Zoo in Washington, DC, you just walk right in. Tax dollars pay for it, considering it’s part of the Smithsonian which is managed by the federal government which pays for it all with all that money they take out my check twice a month.
In Kenya, though, they have a different way of funding their zoos. It’s called foreigners.
This trick may have worked in the past, but no one was falling for it this time. Usually, I’ll stand to the side, as far away from the ticket booth as I can, back towards them, taking pictures or pretending to not be a foreigner, then Nduku will buy the tickets. For residents it’s cheap. For residents and citizens, it comes out to a couple of dollars, if that. For an American, it’s 1000 times more. Literally. $25 to see the same animals because someone figures we got money like that.
The zoo — or as they call it, the animal park — is about the same as ours. Only what we consider exotic animals are every day animals to them. They just usually don’t stand so close to the lions out in the wild.
Well, and we lock up our baboons whereas theirs walk around with the rest of us, snatching chips or ice cream from the little people [children], scaring them. And us adults who don’t like the look of their butts.
We have zebras in Washington, DC, but have you ever seen an albino zebra?
Another difference is how friendly the zookeepers can be. When they see a foreigner.
One of the employees there invited us to get a little more close and personal with the animals. He let us go behind the rope, down a little path come face to face with a leopard. Six inches close.
For the most part, it was a cool zoo.