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Chimpanzee Photo: Bryan Thompson

Practicing Zoo Etiquette

Ever wonder what a Zoo animal would say if it could talk? Here is a sample of what one might say if you asked it, “What makes a good zoo visitor?”

Use quiet voices

I have to tell you, today I woke up to an awful racket. Some visitors were at my home making a lot of noise. I am all for having fun at the zoo, but do they realize that I live here? I wouldn’t go into their homes and yell. I had enough and had to go hide behind a log just to get a little quiet. Finally it was quiet, except for a few footsteps. It was another group of visitors, even more than the last. But they were so quiet this time, I was curious so I went out to check them out. They just smiled and looked at me. So I went about my morning routine. I wish all the visitors could quietly look at my home when they stop by.

Stay on pathways

You know, one of the things I like so much about the Honolulu Zoo is not only do they work hard to take good care of the animals, but they also take good care of the plants. The plants around this place are beautiful and they come from all over the world. A lot of them are grown to feed animals so the zoo doesn’t use resources from other parts of the world. It makes me sad when people go off the path and step on plants. Also, sometimes when they go off the pathways, they kick up dust and dirt. If that comes in our habitats we can’t walk away from it. So, when you come to the zoo, please stay on the paths. They are there for walking on!

Don’t climb on fences and railings

The visitors that come to our zoo are great! And the kids are so excited! I love when they visit and share with their families and teachers all that they know about the animals. But sometimes they make me a little nervous. I’ve seen them climbing on the fences and railings and I want to yell, “Be careful! Please stay back!” I don’t think they realize how dangerous climbing can be. I’ve seen children fall and get hurt badly. I have even seen them get arms or legs stuck in the fence. It ruins their whole day at the zoo. I wish they could all realize that the boundaries are for the safety of the people and the animals.

Don’t feed the animals

Dinner time at the zoo is the best! I didn’t even know I was on a diet, until I heard the zookeepers talking about it. All of us animals are on a diet. They make sure we get all the vitamins and minerals we need. They even weigh our food to make sure we don’t get too much or too little. This way we stay very healthy. We exercise in our homes, but if we eat too much we could get sick. That’s what happened when a visitor tried to share lunch with me once. It made me so sick! Perhaps I was allergic to the food, like some people are allergic to peanuts. Animals in the zoo don’t eat people food. And it’s important not to feed us! Those zookeepers give us plenty of yummy food each day.

Don’t throw things into the animal habitats

The visitors at the zoo come from all over the world to see us. And we are lucky to meet so many great people. But some people feel as though they need to throw things at us, toys, rocks, and all kinds of items. This is harmful to us! Some of the animals don’t know the difference between toys and food and may get sick from eating something they shouldn’t. Others move slowly or lay still when hunting, so people throw things to see them move. By throwing something at them you could hit them and seriously hurt them. And some are naughty and may use items in a way that could hurt themselves or others. We have everything we need in our home, and if it isn’t there with us, the zookeepers must be on their way. So please, never throw anything into our homes and remind others that this could be dangerous for us!

Don’t tease the animals

Remember - the zoo is our home. When people visit you at home, you want them to respect you and your things. Even though you may think we are just animals, we like the same respect as well. Sometimes people tease my friends at the zoo, and sometimes they even tease me. If we had our way, we would make those people leave our home. And I’m sure if someone wasn’t treating you well in your home, you would ask them to leave. But we can’t ask them to leave, and we would prefer they stay. We all want to enjoy the zoo together. That’s why we live here!

Help out the Zoo Ohana!

The zookeepers and staff are busy making this the best zoo it can be. Often they aren’t able to see things that we animals see. And we can’t even speak to them to let them know what’s wrong, but you can! If you see something that looks strange or dangerous, please let one of our zoo staff know. The more we all work together, the better the zoo will be!

Picnic at the Zoo

We love our visitors to have a great, family-fun-filled day. This is why we allow anyone to bring in their own snacks and drinks. You can even bring your cooler! All that we ask is that you pick up your trash and place it in our trash cans on the way home. Oh - and no grills or alcohol please! We hope to see you soon at the Honolulu Zoo!