I remember as a teenager visiting my older sister Kathy in San Diego and spending the day wandering the huge San Diego Zoo, happy to see the animals in natural habitats. My favorite animal is the seal or otter, and I love to see them swimming around while barking. And of course, I often travelled to the San Francisco Zoo, taking my students when I was teaching elementary school.
Then one day while staying in Jerusalem during my missionary days there, I took the bus to the The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo to explore. It was November, and warm with a cool breeze, like the Fall gets there. Colorful leaves blew around my feet as I debarked the bus. I paid my 10 shekels to enter and was so surprised to see the native animals of the Bible, one after another. Each habitat had a sign posted with the Scripture from the Jewish Bible that mentions the animal, and where it came from, which was fascinating to see! God’s Word at the Zoo! King Solomon brought many of the animals on his great ships into the port at the tip of the Red Sea, now know as Eilat.
The zoo sees its primary goal as the conservation of endangered species. These include animals mentioned in the Bible which are now extinct in Israel, such as the Asian lion, the Syrian brown bear, the Asiatic cheetah, the Nile crocodile, and the Persian fallow deer.
Finally, I reached a large open reserve where animals roamed freely together. I rested on a bench overlooking the reserve nearby an Orthodox woman, in her long sleeves and skirt and wig, nursing her baby. I was shocked as I had never seen an Orthodox woman breastfeeding. She smiled at me, and I smiled back. Such peace and tranquility until an Israeli fighter jet flew overhead, breaking the silence and scattering the animals. A spark of fear settled in my heart, wondering if an attack was imminent. Just a typical day in Israel, I reminded myself.
And in the spirit of keeping everything French and highlighting some fun things to do if you get to Paris, may I recommend the Melagerie du Jardin des Plantes (Zoo & Gardens), the oldest zoo in France, right in the heart of Paris. In 1793 the Jardin des Plantes, which was originally a botanical garden, became the first public zoo in France. The compact 16 acre area, with formal 18th-century landscaping, was retained when the Jardin was renovated between 1918 and 1939. It holds some 1,100 specimens, including the rare Przewalski’s horse. It was the personal zoo of the aristocracy, who selected many animals to reside there from all of Europe and beyond.
I plan on visiting when I take my trip to Paris in the near future while enjoying the beautiful botanical gardens. I hope to paint some of the flowers there with my pastels and include them in my art greeting card collection. I wonder what animal and flower will be my favorite? Restez à l’écoute – stay turned! Au revoir mes amis. – Goodbye my friends!
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