Mom remembers Zoo Atlanta:
Valerie: Ok, yesterday we went to the Zoo and we were talking about, you know, what we remembered from when we were little when we went. And me 'n' Sarah remembered that there used to be bears, and you said, yeah, there were. 'Cause we weren't sure if we remembered right. Um, so I was wondering: what was some stuff that you remembered from going to Zoo Atlanta when you were a kid. Um, did you go a lot? Did you go once...?
Mom: I think maybe we went once. We might have gone twice, but I think we went once.
Valerie: How old were you?
Mom: Oh, I was just a little thing. A little ol' thing. And, um, lets see, I was prob'ly around eight or nine if I was that old. And, so, um... I remember we went one time with Mamma & Daddy, and then some of my aunts were there. I think aunt Tootsie was there - they might have all been there. Usually when they came down from Greenville they would get together with my other aunts.
Valerie: ... and do a buch of stuff
Mom: Yeah, and so what we did is we went to Grant Park. And I guess we had a picnic, I don't
remember that much - too much. But I remember going to the park beside the zoo. I think we had some ice cream. And then we went to the zoo. And we went around the zoo. And, uh, they had the Reptile House, like they did now. And I didn't like the reptile house. It was really noisy and there were a lot of people in there. And the way they had it set up, is it's the same reptile house they have now. So some of the displays were the same, but they had bars up. So, like railings. So, like, you went in and there was - it was sorta like a maze the way they had it. I don't know how to explain it, but they had the railings up, so you couldn't just go anywhere, you had to follow the pathway.
Valerie: 'Cause now it's sorta like an open room.
Mom: But they had, they had, railings that went down to the center of the room and then they went out from each side so you could go in. And you had to, you had to go along the walls. And then you went around - it had where you went around the other wall. So it was more a trap feeling. It was really, really noisy in there 'cause of all the people...
Valerie: Like echo-y
Mom: Echo-y. It was like - like really loud. And it was dark and I was a small child and I was afraid I was gonna get lost. Plus they all had all these snakes and everything. But, um, they way they've got the alligator pit now, that was the same... [to Dad] Are you tryin' to get my attention dear?
Valerie: He was pretending he was a snake and he was biting you
Mom: Oh, is that it? Kenny's here too. So, anyway, I remember that about the reptile house. But I know, when we were at the zoo yesterday, I was tellin' y'all that the front part of the building - it has like this relief sculpture. And that's the way a lot of the buildings were then. They had, like, these, um, almost like hieroglyphics. But they were like, um- they were like relief sculptures on the side of the building
Valerie: Like kinda mosaics
Mom: Sorta like mosaics. But I don't think they were painted. I think they were just the concrete. They weren't finished. I mean, they didn't have like a finished, colorful surface to 'em. So they had that on the reptile house; they had one on the monkey house - it had monkeys on it. Um, I remember going in the monkey house and it had all these different displays. And they had, um , Willie B. And it's back then they had him in a big cage. And it took up, like, the whole end of the building. And he was sittin' there in his little hammock thing. And they had a tv for him to watch and he had a tire swing or somethin'. And he's just in this big cement cage. So it was a glass front to it. And everybody wanted to see Willie B. And then they had some different - all the monkeys - they weren't - it wasn't like it is now, where they have a natural habitat for 'em to be able to go out into or anything. It was, everything was like cement cells with glass window fronts. And then, I remember we went down to the Polar Bears exhibit. And it was also like a big wall that, that - I mean, it was a pretty long exhibit, but it had, like, cinder block walls and concrete floors. And they could, um, there was a little opening so they could go inside. But mostly they, like, walking around outside or swimming cause they had a big pool that they could swim in. And they had seals too in a different section. But, um, that's pretty much what I remember when I was a kid. The Zoo's really nice now, they way they've got it. But, um, of course, I think for the time period, it was, it was pretty much what the other zoos were doin' too.
Valerie: Yeah, it just they didn't bother to change it, after that. 'Cause I know they didn't start changing it 'til like the 80s
Mom: I think it almost went out of business there for a while. But yeah, they um, they have, they, the zoo now is really, really nice. So... but yeah, I remember when we um, when we were little. But yeah, we took y'all to the zoo when y'all... [to dad] what were they, prob'ly about four?
Dad: I don't remember.
Mom: I think we took you a couple of times. We took you when you were about three or four. But then we took you again when you were older.