Saturday, September 14, 2013

My Backyard - Roger Williams Park Zoo, Providence, RI

Alternate title:    HANGING WITH A SLOTH

Do not adjust your read it right. We're going to be chatting about spending time with a sloth at one of the country's oldest wildlife parks - Roger Williams Park Zoo.

Once upon a time there were 3 little children. They begged and pleaded with their tired, worn-down grandparents to bring them to the zoo. "Puh-leeeeease?" they wailed over and over, day after day. Grandma and Papa heaved a heavy sigh in unison and knew they could not say no to those persistent little rascals.

The sun rose bright on the chosen day. And 3 excited smiling tots ran out the front door and piled into the family's station wagon for the quick ride to the see the wild animals that live in Providence.

The tour of the zoo was going well. The kids predictably oohhhed and ahhhed at the exotic animals they encountered. Striped zebras. Lumbering elephants. Sky high giraffes.

Halfway thru their adventure, the family arrived at Tropical America and entered the home of snakes (ew!), bats (yikes!), tamarins (awwww!), tropical birds (colorful talkative toucans) and...wait for it...wait for it...ok, keep waiting, they're a bit slow...the Linne's two-toed sloth.

Within moments, they were startled by a very loud clap of thunder. The lights went out. Only the glow from the exit signs and dim light from the skylights illuminated the animals' lair. Nonetheless, the family could detect that the animals were starting to stir. Sounds emanating from the tropical foliage overhead confirmed that the animals were in fact becoming more active.

Suddenly, a movement from above caught their eye. Five spellbound pairs of eyes turned upward to watch the brownish-gray furry sloth slowly making his way across the building toward them. Sliding slowly along suspended ropes from the ceiling. One clawed toe after the other grasped the ropes and propelled the sloth smoothly towards the other side of the building.
Screech!!! The loud squeals of the tamarins above startled the family. Their eyes swept around the ceiling and spied the squirrel-sized monkeys hopping from limb to limb. They quickly settled on a few branches and peered down on the awe struck family. Their piercing eyes darted from one person to the other, as if they were wondering why the humans found them so interesting, why they were just standing there transfixed on the tropical monkeys and their rain forest home.

From outside the Tropical America exhibit, the thunder and lightning continued. Heavy rain pounded the roof. The normally chatty children had fallen silent as they sidled up to their grandparents. The frightening situation was slowly dawning on the trapped family. What was going on outside their safe cocoon? Where were all the other zoo patrons? Did the zoo usher everyone out and close the gates? Was the family locked in? Would anyone come looking for them? Would the storm ever stop?

Forty-five minutes passed before the sound of the rain outside the man-made tropical forest tapered off. The family slowly emerged from their temporary shelter and by group vote decided to make a run for it. To find out what had transpired in the outside world while they had been safely hunkered down with the Tropical America residents. Though cool rain still sprinkled down from the overcast skies, the family could tell that the worst of the storm had passed. They heaved a sigh of relief when they spied other zoo visitors huddled under nearby sheltered areas who were also waiting for the storm to blow over.

The relieved family made their way to the gift shop which was crammed full of soaked to the skin zoo visitors. The mood in the shop was quite jovial; it seemed everyone was making light of the temporary weather setback. After a purchase of the requisite souvenirs, the family took a peek out the door and found that it had stopped raining. The storm was over. They set out to finish up their tour of the  zoo. They wandered by the spitting camels, a sleepy moon bear, a snow leopard that peered at them with half-slit eyes, a red panda who skittered up and down the steps of his exhibit home, a majestic bald eagle and the agitated red wolves. The children enjoyed discovering and exploring the zoo's newest exhibit, "My Big Backyard", a fun play area complete with a tree-house, swings and a creative zone.
Two hours later, an exhausted and hungry family had viewed all of the exhibits. They decided to call it a day and headed back to the entrance of the zoo. The happy little children voted for pizza. The indulgent grandparents put the wagon in gear and headed north to Bob & Timmy's in North Smithfield, RI. The young ones decided on the delish traditional spicy pepperoni (so adventurous) and Papa and Grandma filled up on the warm gooey chicken alfredo wood grilled pizza (yum!). Within a few moments, the hunger pangs were gone.

Looking around the pizza parlor table, the grandparents eyed 3 smiling, pizza stained little faces and knew that they had made the right decision to make the trek to the zoo today. They knew the little ones would not soon forget their adventure...their time hanging with a sloth!


  1. We LOVE LOVE LOVE this blog post, what an adorable story! Thank you!

    1. No thank YOU! We love visiting RWPZ and can't wait to go back. Already planning on a return trip for the Jack-o-lantern Spectacular!


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