Sunday, February 10, 2013

French animals with jolly expressions, mystery red pandas and other observations on Le Jardin des Plantes

Going a little out of chronological order here, but I thought I would share my adventure to Le Jardin des Plantes on Friday afternoon. First of all, the garden is beautiful but probably much more beautiful in the spring when all of the plants are actually alive and blooming. In the winter it's kind of dead. But still a wonderful place to walk around (or jog based on the dozens of runners I saw), and there is an amazing natural history museum and a zoo.

Since it was pretty freezing on Friday we didn't spend much time outside in the garden and made a beeline for La Grande Gallerie d'Evolution, at one end of the garden. Granted, to walk there we basically walked through the middle of the park anyway. Despite everything looking grey and dead, it was still a nice walk. You can see the grandeur of the museum at the end of the path, making it pretty much impossible to miss!

Luckily admission to the general exhibit is free with a student ID and we perused the first two floors of the main exhibit. It was pretty cool, with a combination of skeletons and life-size forms of animals documenting evolutionary patterns. Or something like that, most of the science-y stuff went over my head. Being the highly mature and intellectual scholar that I am, I spent most of the time taking pictures of the models with really goofy expressions and smiles.

Happy, Happy Hippo

The fins definitely add a level of glee to this narwal's expression

But seriously, this elephant just looks so darn jolly!

They just look so happy to be there! My personal favorite was this drawing of a unicorn in the children's section of an exhibit on narwals. Not sure of the connection but I'm sure there was one.

Creepy, awesome, bizarre unicorn. For kids.

Speaking of children, I couldn't not recount my favorite part of this particular adventure! There were a ton of school groups at the museum on field trips and despite all I've heard about French children being brought up better than Americans, these kids were out of control! While I was walking through the exhibit on sharks I happened to see one of the forms moving out of the corner of my eye, only to realize it was this little girl swinging it up and down. At first I thought "I didn't know this was interactive!" until I saw the look of appall on her classmates' faces, who then started to yell to the teacher in an "oh my god, look what she's doing" manner of both shock and excitement. Her teacher than grabbed her by the arm (and at one point the ear, I kid you not) for a brief scolding before the students all ran off to terrorize another part of the exhibit. It was hilarious, embarrassing, shocking, and entertaining all in one. I wish I had gotten a picture. But that would have most likely been seen as creepy. Actually I guarantee it would have been, unless I were to pretend to be taking a picture of something else. Hmmm. That was a lost opportunity. But I digress... Anyway! Overall the museum was pretty cool.

There was also a temporary exhibit on dinosaurs that I really want to go to while it is there, but it was €7 and I didn't have enough time/energy to enjoy it on Friday. The garden has several other building throughout it that house the other parts of the natural history museum, but once again I didn't have the energy to explore them then, but I will.

Red pandas. I can't believe I've gone this long without bringing them up but there are red pandas there in the zoo! I really want to go see them but unfortunately it cost €8 or something ridiculous like that to get into the zoo so I'm waiting until it is somewhat warmer out and I have lots of time. So in the meantime, the red pandas remain a mystery. I really wish it were free though. I would go every day to see the red pandas and talk to them so over time they would come to recognize me and slowly accept me as one of them. It would have been lovely. Sigh. But I will see them soon because how could I be in the same city as red pandas for a whole month and not have seen them already? It's really unacceptable!

So yes, this was my brief but entertaining adventure in Le Jardin des Plantes on a cold February afternoon.

1 comment:

  1. I HAVE to remember to sign into Google BEFORE writing comments on your blog. You see, if I write the comment and then Publish, it takes me to the google screen to login... which is great EXCEPT that it doesn't take me back to the comment to publish successfully. So I will give you the short version this time... I am SO happy that dad and I got to be with you when you finally saw that ADORABLE, furry red pandas in the zoo (and happy I could fund your ticket in.) How lucky we were to find them sleeping, watch them wake up and eat and then fall back asleep. I must have over 100 pics just of them :) xoxoxo