Wordless Wednesday #5

January 29, 2013 in Family life

Giraffe sticking head in car


Just a few brief words about this photo (because I just can’t let this one go wordless…):

I both love and hate this photo at the same time. I love it for the fearless and curious nature of the giraffe, who is sticking his head into someone’s car window. At the same time, I hate it because this picture was taken in New Jersey. Yes, you are correct in thinking that giraffes do not live in New Jersey, at least not by choice. This was taken at the Great Adventure Drive-Through Safari, where wild animals are kept in captivity so people can drive by and see the wonder of these animals up close. I had recalled going there as a child and wanted my own kids to experience the excitement of having a wild animal walk right up to your car.

However, I regretted taking my kids the instant we got there. And I hope that place shuts down in the near future. Many of the people in the cars were throwing inappropriate food (such as french fries) for these animals to eat, even though the signs explicitly say not to feed the animals. I always have a love-hate relationship with zoos and places like this because on the one hand, I adore animals and love seeing them up close, but on the other hand, I abhor seeing animals kept in sub-optimal conditions. Certain zoos have the underlying mission to preserve these species and have breeding and conservation programs in place. Those I’m pretty much okay with. The other zoos, where the animals are behind bars and not receiving the proper care, I wish they would close down — today. ¬†And don’t even get me started on circuses with animals….

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy January 29, 2013 at 8:35 pm

We’ve been there too and while I loved the look on my daughter’s face when the giraffe put his head in our car, I agree that this place should probably be shut down. It’s not in the best interests of the animals and it isn’t healthy for them.
It’s still a great picture though! :)


Janine Huldie January 29, 2013 at 9:02 pm

I think it an awesome picture, but can totally see why you feel the way you do and have to say I totally agree. I hate going to the zoo and seeing animals in captivity, but something like this is 100 times worse. Emily, I have never been here even though I don’t live that far off, but after seeing this and hearing your story, will never go nor do I want to.


Kelly January 29, 2013 at 9:18 pm

That’s sad and they so should have a camera in place and fine those idiots tossing garbage heavily!


Ruchira January 29, 2013 at 11:30 pm

the picture is pretty but after hearing what they feed…gosh that is bad and sad.

gotta close it down!


ohboymom January 30, 2013 at 4:04 pm

Turns out they DID shut it down at the end of last summer which I was so glad to find out from another commenter. Apparently, they are re-opening it with more humane improvements so that people can’t feed them bad food anymore.


Roshni January 30, 2013 at 12:56 am

Nice capture!! I’m so with you about shutting down places that cannot care for living beings in a proper way. It makes my blood boil!


ohboymom January 30, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Turns out (as I just found out from another commenter) that the safari WAS shut down at the end of last season and is being re-opened with more humane improvements. Phew! Just hope they do it right this time…


Roshni January 30, 2013 at 4:14 pm

Well, that’s great! I’m glad to know there was enough awareness to realize that something was totally wrong about the way animals were treated!


Melanie Chisnall January 30, 2013 at 8:54 am

Oh Emily, I am with you 100% there. I have a HUGE problem with circuses – sorry, but our future children will not be going to any of those, and most zoos. We went to a zoo a few years ago and I was horrified. The cages were too small, they were dirty, there wasn’t proper food. It’s disgusting and sick what humans do in order to get money. How would they like to be locked up in a cage all day and gawked at? Or whipped continuously for not performing some trick. I saw that on the news a few years ago and have never gotten it out of my head. It was an elephant. A gentle one…like the one we walked with earlier this year. I pray that these places will shut down, or that one day something miraculous will happen like in the movie, Rise of the Planets of the Apes. I’d be on their side all the way. I love the picture, but I can understand what you’re talking about behind it.


ohboymom January 30, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Thanks Melanie. I know you’re a huge animal advocate and lover so I completely know where you’re coming from. According to another commenter, that safari WAS shut down at the end of last summer and is apparently being re-opened with more humane improvements. I hope so!


erin the irish mama January 30, 2013 at 9:47 am

Emily – we have had season passes the past few years and I take the kids here often. I agree that people do break all of the rules and I wanted to let you know that they did shut this down at the end of this past season. No more driving through in cars. Right now they are making it a new guided attraction as part of your ticket pass. I think you will ride in safari cars with staff so they can monitor everyone. I used to hate when people would feed the animals – no wonder some of them would attack cars. I loved seeing the zebras and girafffes but man I had to replace my wiper blades because of a stinkin ostrich! But great picture!!!!!


ohboymom January 30, 2013 at 4:00 pm

I am sooo glad to hear that they shut it down last season and are making more humane improvements to it. Phew! Thanks so much for letting me know….and you’re so right about that ostrich — he got our car too and we had a monkey pee on our windshield! :)


Michelle January 30, 2013 at 10:16 am

Hey!! You have just reminded me of a safari I went to when the giraffe stuck its head in the window. I gave it a pat. :) Such gentle creatures!! That safari had animals kept in good conditions….I think fines have to be imposed on visitors who throw inappropriate food at these creatures. They do it thinking that they are pacifying the animals when they are hungry, but they couldn’t be more wrong…there are things they cannot eat. Thanks for sharing. Hope the New Jersey safari shuts down too.


Terrye January 30, 2013 at 10:45 am

Bob Barker has an organization that rescues animals from zoos like that. His organization ‘rescued’ the elephant from the Alaska Zoo and moved her to San Diego. Maybe they could do something for these poor critters.

Love the picture tho! What a surprise that would be! :)


ohboymom January 30, 2013 at 3:59 pm

I never knew that about Bob Barker – I always knew I liked that guy! Turns out, that drive-through safari was shut down last summer and is apparently being re-opened with more humane improvements, which I was glad to hear.


Terrye January 31, 2013 at 4:28 am

So good to hear that someone stepped in and took the animals’ interests and well being to heart. *whew*

Here’s more info on Bob Barker’s animal campaign. It doesn’t seem to cover the large animal projects he worked on tho: http://www.djtfoundation.org/1.htm


ohboymom January 31, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Thanks for this info and link on Bob Barker’s campaign…I’m definitely going to check it out!


Cyndi January 30, 2013 at 12:04 pm

FanTASTIC photo! Wow! My mouth was agape when I saw it.
Then when you started talking about it – I’m with you. It drives me senseless that people have no regard for animals, but what can you expect when half the time they don’t even respect themselves? Grr.
Awesome, AWESOME photo!


ohboymom January 30, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Thanks Cyndi — glad you like the photo! And as someone else commented, luckily that drive-through safari was shut down. Phew.


Stacy Harris January 30, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Love the capture… but I am right there with you… I kind of hate the concept. This is like a Jurasic Park for giraffes. Don’t get me wrong – I kind of love seeing these things. But I hate how some people just can’t respect these animals and are willing to throw their trash or human food out. I don’t get it!


Michele January 30, 2013 at 4:52 pm

YES Emily!! I agree 100%. I love seeing animals, and I find them so fascinating. But man, what I wouldn’t give to just have them all back where they belong, and not being mistreated for the benefit of humans. None the less, great picture. :)


ohboymom January 30, 2013 at 7:36 pm

Thanks…the good news is this place apparently shut down at the end of last season and is now being re-opened with more humane practices.


Kristi January 30, 2013 at 6:43 pm

Wow. Totally agree with you on everything in your entire post. I hate it when I go to something that’s supposed to be a fun family event and see that the animals aren’t healthy, or that their cages are unkept, that they’re too skinny…sigh. It’s just sad. Plus, it seems dangerous that people can drive their cars right up to the giraffes – seems like one could be hurt :(
It’s a cool photo though! I might be a little freaked out with that giant head in my window, though…


ohboymom January 30, 2013 at 7:35 pm

Yes, my kids were VERY freaked out about it! My husband joked around and opened the sun roof, but quickly closed it after they all started screaming.:)


Rich Rumple January 30, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Emily – The AZA is the governing body in the United States that regulates all the zoos. They, and PETA, are also the two organizations that are doing their best to create a monopoly in the United States, by getting states to outlaw any facility that is not AZA approved. Yet, many of the AZA facilities are worse than the private facilities. It is nothing but big business trying to eliminate the little guy. I know because I fought them like hell here in the state of Kentucky. Many private owners really care and take good care of their animals. They do so for two reasons: 1) they really have a love for the animals, and 2) they don’t have the funds that an AZA facility does to go out and purchase new ones should an animal die. So, once again, big business gets it’s way and eliminates many of the little guys. And we all know how big business treats Mother Nature’s creatures. (cough cough) Love the picture! My first memories of wild animals came from a visit to a Wild Benson’s Animal Farm somewhere in the Rhode Island / Conn. area decades ago. I’ll never forget it! Great job!


ohboymom January 30, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Wow, I never knew about the AZA…but I know all about big business eliminating the little guy — just had no idea it applied to zoos too. It’s ironic that many of us went to places when we were kids that may or may not have mis-treated animals (our young minds would not have realized that at the time anyway) but we all remember the animals and in some cases, it can really help spur a love for them. I guess that’s what also keeps these places in business — people keep going back.


clark January 31, 2013 at 5:56 am

…yeah, I got to go with the ‘don’t like zoos’ contingent on this one.

Probably over-identification, (or worse) anthropomorphization but I read too much science fiction as a kid and can’t help but think, ‘man, if that was me and all I wanted to do was go home’, bummer


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