As I mentioned previously, standing outside next to these horses was exciting, but climbing the circular stairway, hidden behind an old door-way leading up to them, was the real adventure. I was a big Nancy Drew fan and this had all the ingredients of a mystery novel in the making. I made an attempt at writing a mystery novel when I was about ten, but I must have gotten distracted and The Mystery of the Swinging Potato Sack never got written. More about that, perhaps, some other time.
Another memory it triggered was a previous visit to Como Zoo when I was even younger. I must have been five when my parents took Jane and me to a suburb of Minneapolis to visit my Aunt Gertrude, Dad's sister. A visit to the zoo was one of our adventures. Among the more memorable things were the very smelly orangutans, who performed for us in their own, uh, inimitable way, a bumpy, but wonder-inducing ride on a giant tortoise, and a camel, which I didn't ride. Shortly before we left, my dad was talking to the man who held the reins of this camel. Next thing I know, the man asked me if I wanted to ride him. In my fearful youth, I balked, shook my head no, and could not be budged. I remember wanting to, very badly. I kept looking up at it and thinking, 'How do I sit on him?' My dad understood the value of having adventures and he wanted me to have this one, but my resistance could not be overcome. I, to this day, have a small wish that I had been a bit braver, had an actual ride stored in my memory bank. Years later, while attending a Renaissance Fair, I had an opportunity to ride an elephant and did not pass that up, remembering the camel ride I didn't take.