Everyone gets older. All the wrinkle creams and plastic-surgery techniques in the world can’t change that. The best we can do is practice healthy habits, embrace the wisdom of our experience and aim for aging with grace.
To that end, we might learn something from the residents of the Sacramento Zoo. The zoo is home to many “senior citizen” animals. At 55, Sam the chimp is the zoo’s oldest tenant. Jewel, the zoo’s Nile hippopotamus, is 36. (That’s geriatric in hippo terms. No offense, Jewel.)
The zoo’s senior animals share many of the same ailments that plague older humans, but without the consolation of a senior discount at the movies. According to the zoo’s public-relations coordinator, Dagmar Smith, the animals can get arthritis, diabetes and cataracts as they age. “They are on some of the same senior medication [people take], as well as Centrum Silver,” she added.
But getting older isn’t just about managing health. It’s also about learning to slow down and enjoy life. Witness Jewel luxuriously soaking in her pond or Sam overseeing the boisterous activities of the chimp compound. In that spirit, the zoo welcomes the community—especially its senior members—to the zoo’s Senior Celebration. Senior citizens age 65 and older will receive half-price admission this Saturday. The day’s theme is animal longevity, and visitors of all ages will enjoy learning about animal lifespans at the zoo’s wildlife wagons. Senior Celebration lasts from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Admission for non-seniors is $7.25 for adults and $5 for children under 12. The Sacramento Zoo is located at 3930 West Land Park Drive. Call (916) 264-5888 or visit www.saczoo.com for more information.