I needed to go to the zoo Saturday afternoon to take a photo of a Ganesha statue for my goddaughter, Remy, whose room is decorated in a jungle theme. Her mom asked me to shoot an elephant, a giraffe, or a hippo. We have kind of a tradition involving photographs of animal statues, so I’m hooking her up with a triptych featuring Ganesha, a blue fiberglass hippo from Edmond, and Bob Cassilly’s giraffe from the Dallas Zoo.
While Ron and I were at the zoo, we went to the Wings of Wonder exhibit, which is a big walk-through greenhouse containing lots of flowers and several species of butterflies. It made me think of the Insectarium at the St. Louis Zoo.
St. Louis’ Insectarium is a lovely educational exhibit that gives viewers a peek at the habits of some of the less cuddly species that share the planet with us. But I love it because it’s the best example of irony I’ve ever seen.
As you walk into the Insectarium, you are greeted by a big sign proclaiming that the exhibit was made possible by a generous donation from Monsanto.
Yes, that Monsanto. The folks who gave us Roundup herbicide, Ortho pesticides, and one of the nastiest Superfund sites in the country. One of the world’s largest purveyors of bug spray sponsored a huge exhibit about cohabiting peaceably with bugs.
I can’t think of the Insectarium without bursting into song:
They cut down all the trees, put ‘em in a tree museum
And they’re charging the people a dollar and a half just to see ‘em….
— Joni Mitchell
Wings of Wonder didn’t have any glaring irony attached to it. It was just pretty.
I shot a few pictures while we were in there; of particular interest was the chrysalis house, a little kiosk sort of affair made of wood and screen wire where caterpillars turn into butterflies. Two newly hatched butterflies were drying their wings while we were there; the young docent was very nice about letting me get close to shoot pictures:
I also got a picture of this character sipping nectar from a black-eyed Susan:
Hope your weekend is full of beautiful creatures.