Seven Hidden Dangers of the Denver Zoo

Hippopotami are more fearsome than most might believe. In fact, they’re actually quite dangerous -- especially when you’re sticking your hand inside their mouths to brush their big hippo teeth.

Which is exactly what a Denver Zoo worker found out this past Monday, July 14, when she was bitten by a hippo while performing some dental work. And really, does that constitute a “bite,” really? It’s not like Mahali -- who’s a five-year-old male, should that be of interest to you -- suddenly went nuts, screamed “Ut! Ut! Ut!” and went all Battle of Hastings on her. It was more like a quick taste than anything. Or maybe a gag reflex.

Nevertheless, this recent hippo unpleasantness (something that it seems to me that Steve Irwin, Marlin Perkins, and Colonel Mustard probably experienced their shares of), it behooves us to examine what other dangers could crop up on a family day amongst the animals.

Here are just a few:

Burned by the Bronze Gorilla Gorillas are dangerous enough, but at least the real ones are behind thick glass. The bronze sculpture is pretty enough to look at, even memorable enough to want to get a picture with -- but before you set junior down in the gorilla’s bronze lap, check the temp of that metal. Chances are that on a hot afternoon, you could fry a burger on that sucker. (And given the prices of burgers from the cafeteria, you might be tempted to try.)

Forced to Explain Masturbation Courtesy of the real gorillas (and the monkeys, and the baboon, and the mandrill, and the macaque, etc., etc.), you may be faced with having to either explain what the “funny monkey” is doing, or lying about it and hoping your kid doesn’t remember it later, when they’re old enough to know what’s going on (and find it hilarious). You’d think as smart as these animals are, they might wait until after the zoo is closed to do this sort of thing, but who knows. Maybe they’re exhibitionists.

Shat Upon How many ways might you get hit with poop at the Zoo? Let us count the ways. There’s always the aviary (don’t look up!), and the monkeys throwing their feces (again with the freakin’ monkeys -- these things are just obscene, aren’t they?). And even if you don’t get hit with the actual stuff, you’ll definitely be hit with the whiff of it coming from pretty much every animal house you might pass. Which makes that cotton candy you’re eating take on a whole new taste sensation.

The Curse of the Well-Meaning Parents Honestly, if your kid is too young to walk around the zoo, they’re too young to care if that’s a giraffe standing over there. You’re not educating the child. You’re just annoying the animals. Which is sort of cruel (and weird) if you think about it. How would you react if a gibbon came to your dining room window while you were eating and held up its little baby gibbon son so it could watch you for a bit? Freaking spooky, is what that is.

Run Over By Strollers and/or Photographers Another parent issue is the use of space for either humongous strollers, or the yen for a photo of a kid with an emu in the background unblemished by the inclusion of your person in the frame. Either way, you’re supposed to get out of the way, or face the consequences, which usually include (but are not limited to) crushed toes, hacked heels, dirty looks, or comments about the attractiveness (or lack thereof) of your cargo shorts.

Hit with Souvenir Cups Thrown from the Carousel The carousel is supposed to be about conservation, which makes it ironic that things seem to fly from it continuously when it’s in motion. Cups, maps, sunscreen, hats, whatever a kid might have on his or her person that seems more appropriate for their Mom or Dad to hold for them? Comes flying off with the relative force of a satellite at escape velocity.

Parking For your convenience, the parking garage has four levels: Boa, Macaw, Tiger, and Zebra. Which is great. Except on busy days, there are also four levels of parker: Asshat, Grandma, Idiot, and Pendejo. And often, all of them want the same space that you do. – Teague Bohlen