As part of my rediscovering Boston summer tour, yesterday we went to the Stone Zoo in Stoneham, MA (the smaller of the 2 zoos in Boston) on a whim.
It started with breakfast at a local dinner and me feeling kind of bad ass in my tight jeans and tank top with a drawing of a cat with wings sitting pretty. I always feel kind of bad ass when I'm wearing a tank top and yesterday, doubly so given the return of the heat to Boston.
I saw, "Always be ready to have the time of your life" written on the specials board over the counter. That and my attitude made me suggest we "do something." My husband said, "Want to go to the zoo?"
Um... that's a silly question since 99% of the time the answer will be "YES!" I let him pick which one and he chose the Stone Zoo.
I am glad to see the Stone Zoo is back up and running. In 1990 the Commonwealth of MA and Zoo New England closed the place for financial reasons but a small group of volunteers formed the Friends of the Stone Zoo and fought hard and long to get the place reopened in 1992. A fabulous and visionary head of Zoo New England helped to redesign and refocus the place into the small wonder that it is.
On the way there, the highway sign had an added bonus, "the koalas are here!" Double score baby! This was even better than the time a couple of years ago when the sign had "Jaguar Babies" on it because, well, one word: koalas.
Of course, the sign should have said, "The koalas are sleeping," but that's OK because that's what koalas do. They were there in their fuzzy cuteness and it made me go squee. They are part of an Australia exhibit that is there for the summer and I will go back at some point to see if I can catch them awake in their fuzzy cuteness to make me squee even louder.
Now the big laugh of the day was not from me singing the Kookaburra song to the kookaburra or me talking to the animals, it came from this:
I was also being stared at by people around me who didn't get the joke. So it goes.
But along with the koalas, there are lots of babies this season. There are the baby black and white colobus monkeys (which are cute and white and furry and hidden from view by the adults who form a monkey shield around them in the back of the pen). There are also baby flamingoes that aren't pink yet.
There were three that I saw hanging out with the flock of adults just being all, "Hey, how's it going. I'm a cute baby flamingo. What are you up to?" The flamingoes tend to smell really bad, particularly in the heat, but I didn't mind because the little fluff balls were just being so cool about the whole thing.
I was excited to see the capybara was back. When the boys were little and we spent a lot of time at the Stone Zoo (back when Major the Polar Bear was alive), we'd always hang out and talk to the capybaras who are truly rodents of unusual size. This is a photo of Scooter and he was just chilling with the llamas in the shade behind the educational resource center.
I have always described the Stone Zoo as the perfect toddler length zoo. About the point your kid is done, you're back at the beginning. For someone like me, I could spend a long time just hanging out watching one set of animals without feeling like I'm missing anything or having to rush. For people who are leery of Franklin Park, this is a nice alternative.
It also sparked my desire to add "Ecotarium," which is part zoo, part science museum, to my list of summer rediscoveries - even though it's in Worcester and not Boston. But if you're looking for a way to spend a nice afternoon, the Stone Zoo is the place to go.
And they have koalas.