To the Zoo or Not to the Zoo? That is the Question


Moms_Magazine_image_zooTo the Zoo, or Not to the Zoo?  That is the Question

As parents, we innocently intend to share the magic of wild animals through family excursions to marine parks or zoos.

I have personally struggled with the choice to go to the zoo ‘just once’ for my nephews to see a ‘real live elephant!’ I weighed the benefits (education, fostering an interest in wildlife, a full day of outdoor exercise) against my uneasy instinct that something just does not feel right, for me, about viewing animals out of their natural habitat.

Would only one visit really make any difference?

After a friend, of whom animal welfare issues are furthest from her mind, returned from Africa last week, she declared that she will never patronize a zoo again after seeing animals truly free. They carried an air of majestic ease that, in retrospect, she recalls as lacking in captive animals, particularly animals trained for shows. She says she had never truly ‘seen’ a wild animal before, despite her many visits to circuses, zoos and aquariums in the past.

Will my children really be seeing that zoo elephant as the glorious creature it is, or rather a far-removed distant version of it?


  1. Hats off to you! I’ve been struggling with this issue and I am not a mother, but I can definitely relate. Zoos are not the proper way for making our children understand and love animals, because as you stated, those (captured) animals are not truly free.

    • Anastasia, yes, yes yes! I’ve also seen a recent study that showed no correlation between children visiting zoos, and the ‘benefits’ that zoos often promote, such as improved compassion of animals, education, etc. Quite the opposite! Glad to you’ve been considering the issue too! Thanks for your comments:)


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