Last week the kids and I went out to the Kansas City Zoo on Tuesday, which was a free day.
Since it was a free day, and nice weather, there were a whole bunch of people there. It was crowded, but not unduly so, and at least it was not hot. (Crowded+hot, unbearable. Crowded+not hot, not rainy, bearable.)
In retrospect, it would have been better to get there at opening, and stay until lunchtime, rather than getting there after lunch, and not leaving until almost closing time. Actually, at the time, I thought so too. But I wanted to update my GPS, and didn’t think of it the day before, and had forgotten how long that could take.
As much fun as we had watching the animals (most of whom were out and busy), by the end of the day we were getting a bit tired and cranky, and so was everyone else.
The entrance to the Zoo is also the exit, and when we were leaving (shortly before the park closed at 4:00), everyone was trying to get through the plaza at the same time, so it was really crowded there. I noticed that the entryway plaza was lined with security people and police, but didn’t think anything of it. They were all polite (as were most of the people), and said things like “Hope you had a good time, come back soon.”
When we got out to the Mane parking lot, I saw flashing lights, but again didn’t think anything of it, since with that many people, surely someone fainted, or something similar. And the police around could just be for crowd control.
We were parked on the grass lot on the other side of Starlight Theatre, so it took us about ten minutes to walk there, with a good-sized (but ever thinning) crowd.
The first sign I had that anything could be wrong, was while we were driving out, two police cars passed us, with their lights and sirens blaring, before we even left Swope Park.
Then, while we were driving down the road between the park and Bruce Watkins Drive, several more police cars passed us, heading toward the park. And once we were on Bruce Watkins Drive, there were still more police cars, lights and sirens, headed the other way. Now, those police cars could have been headed somewhere else, but since I’d already seen the other police cars, I assumed those were also headed to the Zoo.
I had my son text my husband, to see if he had heard anything, but he hadn’t.
So, when we got home I had to go on-line, to see if there was any news, and found stories similar to this:
Apparently there were widespread fights at the end of the day at the zoo, culminating with shots fired, though no one was seriously hurt.
Once again, I saw no signs of any of this while I was there, and at no time did I feel that we were unsafe. Though I was thinking that we would have had less crowds if we had come at the beginning of the day, instead of the end of it, and may have had more of a chance to see some exhibits which were closed because too many other people were already in it, and a few other things that we didn’t see because the line was too long.