I love the Oklahoma City zoo. Love love love the zoo. Last year while on maternity leave I took my nearly 3-year-old and new born to the zoo at least twice a week and sometimes three. And when we go to the zoo we spend the whole day. We walk the whole entire zoo. Pachyderms to bison to Acquaticus and back. In and out of the snake house through the Galapagos and sometimes the aviary. We love it there. I brag about the OKC Zoo everywhere I go.
I think it is a great place to take kids. To teach them about nature and impart on them messages of balance and environment and kindness and consequence and many many many more. There is one message though that the zoo is not capitalizing on: Eating healthy.
This despite the fact that our mayor unleashed to the world his mission to put our fine city on a diet at the zoo. If you want to eat anything healthy at the zoo you’re going to have to sneak into an animal’s cage.
While they are being fed oranges, leafy greens and other carefully selected foods to keep them healthy, the concessions areas are deep-frying French fries, hot wings, chicken fingers, corn dogs and more. You can get burgers, burritos, nachos, hot dogs and bratwurst. You can get the best ice cream in the whole world. Oh yes I am not knocking the flavor of zoo fare, just its nutritional value. But, I’d challenge someone to find something healthy to eat at the zoo concessions aside from the hamburger toppings.
It seems like adding cold-cut sandwiches, fruit dishes and veggie cups would be easy and not all that expensive. Aren’t they already buying oranges, apples, bananas and the sort for the animals? Why not order some extra for us. Maybe they could even capitalize on the whole animal thing they‘ve got going and offer ants on a log or a monkey sandwich with peanut butter and bananas.Come on zoo, give us some healthy options.
Until then, when you go to the zoo keep in mind that if you eat you’ll be consuming a high-fat, high-sugar diet. Which I think is a good thing from time to time. You gotta have a burger and fries. And in our house hot dogs are a food group. And I think I might have mentioned that the zoo has the best ice cream in the whole world. But you have to balance that out with some celery and oranges, options that one would imaging you’d be able to find at the zoo.
And I’m not saying every item on the menu should be filled with nutritional value. I And I suppose that I could avoid eating at the zoo all together and many do bring their own snacks and picnics, but when you already have to lug gear for two kids a fruit cup would be handy. I think the zoo’s’ food makes a statement … it sends a message. And I’m not really sure why they should be held to a higher standard than White Water or Frontier City, but as a place of influence and education … conservation and nature I think they are.
Oh and keep your fingers out of the cages those oranges are for the gorillas.
- Lindsey Johnson