I am obviously a huge supporter of zoos. I’m even a huge supporter of people going to the zoo strictly for entertainment reasons. I honestly don’t care if you visit the zoo to gawk at animals and conservation is the last thought in your head. Know why? Because it doesn’t matter why you came to the zoo. Your visit helps conservation efforts. And it’s good for your health as well.

I have spoken about the idea of conservation through osmosis before, but I don’t know if I’ve ever fully explained it. Passive conservation is the idea of not actively pursuing behaviors which protect and preserve the environment, but through which conservation occurs anyways. Over time, this action makes way for an appreciation and love for your sacred place, or favorite animal. This appreciation creates a desire to constantly stay connected, and you want to keep it safe. And it often inspires active conservation.

A visit to the zoo is a special scenario where not only do you support conservation efforts, but you also act in a healthy way for you. Being outdoors improves your breathing, and your health. It helps you absorb vitamin D, which fights depression, builds bone density, and improves your immune system. It amplifies the benefits of exercise by twofold. And being outside on a nice day is simultaneously relaxing and rejuvenating.

When you go to the zoo, you discover animals and information which is deeply enriching to your mind. Even if you think you’ve forgotten the ideas presented during your visit, it stays with you. It gets stored deep in your subconscious, and the next time you are out somewhere, it will jump back out and remind you. Oh yeah! I’m supposed to eat sustainable seafood because orcas depend on their Chinook salmon for their survival.

Today was a fun day. I am at the American Association of Zookeepers conference here in Denver, and the pre-conference trip was to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, about 2 hours away. Today I got to feed a giraffe, play with goats, and meet a mountain tapir.

I also watched a young orangutan plan out a fun activity and implement it. A tiger splashed in the water for his favorite toy. A barn owl flew to my hand (even though he had no letter from Hogwarts, I still loved it). IMG_3271

It was a really enriching and enlightening day. I am exhausted from my head to my pinkie toe, but it was a great day.

Zoos are a great way to experience nature, take care of yourself, and have a fun time. So, listen to auntie PJ and when you are looking for something fun to do, take a page from ZooFit, and visit the zoo.