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Saturday at the Mexican Zoo

Though Jillian had already visited the zoo here in Merida on one of her epic solo day trips, it was clear I simply had to see it for myself. After a long walk in the midday heat, staying well hydrated of course, we arrived to find not just a zoo but a real carnival of pleasures. An entire park, ringed with sno-cone and churro vendors, and filled with go-cart rides, bumper boats, motorized tricycles for rent, and hundreds of kids gleefully zipping around mildly-themed tracks. Jillian said that it was quite a departure from when she went by herself on a weekday, in that there were actually people here. I was a little jealous to have missed it feeling like an abandoned spooky park, but was also delighted to see that this free park was attracting so many families on a Saturday afternoon.

We arrive, sweaty but ready.

After getting our fill of the outer park, with its odd sculptures, and too-low cablecars, we ventured into the zoo itself. A few fast facts about the zoo:

  1. It is free.
  2. Its only employees are two heavily armed guards, which means that at some point, some time ago, someone woke up in the morning and said, “Yep. Today, I steal a puma.”
  3. There are TONS of animals, though, in the September heat, all they really do is lay around in the shade.
  4. Danger is waiting AROUND EVERY TURN


We started with some basic barnyard animals, who were some of the most animated of any of the animals here. Jillian explained to me why she feels horns to be kind of hateful, though I like them. My skelton extending through my skin, which I can use to RAM? Hell yes!

Chain link fence is all that protects us.

One of the great things about the zoo, is how CLOSE you can get to all the animals, with no patrolling guards with tranquilizer guns to protect you, or to tell the shouting babies not to jab the tigers with sticks. To be in this zoo is to kind of feel a little bit on your own. While safe, it is still kind of exciting. All of the animals, though, are clearly depressed. The hippos are all sunk, the alligators rest, and the giraffes look downright suicidal.


The tigers were the best part. They were all pacing their cages, eyeballing each other and looking ready to pounce. I could stand and watch big cats pretty much all day.

I was a foot away from this guys giant sleeping head.

After being disappointed by Primate Avenue (a long, elevated, winding stretch of pathway which featured no primates), there was some excitement at the gorilla cage as a group of squealing teenagers ran by. The gorilla became quite agitated, jumping up and down and patrolling the perimiter of his cage. Then, though, it was back to bananas and snooze time.


On the whole, the experience got me kind of bummed out about the very concept of zoos. I’m pretty sure that while I enjoy seeing these animals up close, and the loosely regulated Mexican zoo makes that all the more possible, these animals shouldn’t have to stand around in the heat in these tiny cages. There should at least be some kind of rotation law…you can exhibit an animal for a year, then you have to cut him loose and get a new one. Perhaps they could be released in a downtown urban area. While I learned that zoos kind of bum me out, visiting the free Merida zoo is still a recommended way to pass a Saturday afternoon.

The king of the rodents! Also a smug sunuvabitch.

Following the zoo, we took a bus back to Centro, where we took a stroll through the bustling Saturday mercado…which is going to have to be an entry all its own when we can get some pictures, so thoroughly was my mind blown. On the whole, I found myself really enjoying every detail of yesterday…the being, the doing, the new, the people, the buses, the smells, the sights. It all seems so unreal, and at the same time, very much right.

There Is 1 Response So Far. »

  1. i love animals concerned

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