My parents used to take me to the Kansas City Zoo when I was a child. I remember it well (or at least I thought I did.). I used to beg to see the “flumbingoes” (Is that right, Mom and Dad?) and the sea lions, and probably also wanted to take all of the colossal kitty cats home, too. A tiger is just an overgrown house-cat, right Dad?

Right off the bat, Becki begged to see the tigers. Sometimes the auto-focus feature on the camera allows for some fun, albeit accidental, trickery. This photo seems to say, “Yes, it’s a lovely creature, isn’t it? But it’s in jail!”

It is no coincidence that Becki wore a green tiger T-shirt to the zoo. I think she was hoping to get the tiger’s autograph by impressing it like a groupie with a backstage pass at a “Deaf Leopard” concert (pun most definitely intended). “Look! I have your T-shirt and everything, Mr. Tiger! And I’m carrying a purse with giraffe spots! Please autograph me … with your claws.” Note: Clearly, Baby Evie has been eaten by the T-shirt tiger. The baby bump is conveniently located behind the tiger’s mouth on the shirt.

When I saw the building below, I remembered it immediately. It was a long-lost memory from childhood that had been at the bottom of the sea of my mind, and it suddenly surfaced, unbidden. I insisted we look into this building and, upon closer inspection, we realized it was no longer operational. It was overgrown with greenery, and there were sheets of plywood behind the front doors, effectively blocking the interior of the building to the public. I was fascinated by this. I knew it had been there when I was a child. It had fallen into disrepair and no longer housed any avian animals, but it still captured my imagination. I have always been fascinated by abandoned, decaying places. Dead malls in particular. Why not a dead zoo? It would make a great setting for a strange short story. Of this I am certain.

Then we came to the Sea Lion Pool. It was added to the zoo in 1950, so it was most definitely the same sea lion pool my parents and I visited when I was a child.

Then there was “The Dark Place,” which also fascinated me to no end as a child. Mom and Dad said it housed reptiles, but I am not sure about this. Nor am I sure why I called it “The Dark Place.” My parents can (and probably will) correct me if I am wrong, but I think “The Dark Place” was the interior of the building below. It originally housed the entire Kansas City Zoo when it was first constructed in 1909. Like the abandoned aviary, this building too struck a chord with me.

We saw some turtles. I heard a father say to his son, “Turtles carry their homes on their backs!” And so does the average mortgage-paying American!

We also saw Natalie Portman as she appeared in Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan.

Then Becki got tired. Really tired. Below is my Vlog Report from “Kenya,” the African part of Kansas City. Which you probably didn’t even, um, know about.

Becki eventually became so hot and tired that she teetered and tottered into a nearby gift shop and sat down on a merchandise display shelf to eat cookies ‘n’ cream ice cream from a cone. I captured Becki in this environment on film like a true National Geographic documentarian. I have to say, I think this is quite priceless.

All in all, a fun and hilarious day at the Kansas City Zoo. Can we go back today? It’s Monday, and otherwise we’ll just have to go to work …

I failed to mention this as well: Since it was Father’s Day and Becki has a bun in the oven, the zoo gave me free admission and offered me a free bratwurst. Not bad. We should have more of these Father’s Day things …