Newsletter of the Berlin Phil. Community, June 2004 Issue


      There isn’t a pleasant place to enjoy a early autumn day than at the Zoologischer Garten in the centrum of Berlin. Aside from its claim of having the largest number of species of any zoo in the world, the landscaping and gardens make it a delightful place to stroil among the exotic animal house, disguised as pagodas, temples and mosques.
      Contruction of the zoo started in 1841 on the site of the former royal pheasant run. Friedrich Wilhelm IV not only gave the site to the newly founded Zoo Corporation, but he also donated 850 animals from the royal menagerie on Peacock Island. The magnificent oriental gate on Budapester Strasse with its elephant sculptures was built in 1899. Further construction over a span of 150 years included the unique animal houses and the aquarium, all of which were almost completely destroyed by an air raid during November 1943.
       During the final stages of the Battle of Berlin in April 1945, the Eastern Front ran right through the middle of the zoo, one of the last defenses stood there, a huge air raid shelter known as the Zoo Flak Tower. Today, animals enclosures and wild pigs occupy the site. When the battle was over, only 91 of the thousands of animals were still alive.
       Knautschke, the zoo’s hippopotamus, became a hero and the symbol of the city’s will to survive. The hippo survived the last few days of the war under water. When reconstruction work started, he allowed rescuers to bring him up out of the muddy pond and feed him. In 1986, Knautschke became a grandfather and the entire city rejoiced.
       One of the zoo’s beloved animals is Bao-Bao, the giant panda bear. But before reaching the site, there is a landscaped walkway which one would stop short to gaze at the breath-taking color of the flamingos. These are not the pale pink one normally associates with the plastic variety adorning yards in Florida, but an attractive bright coral.
      Feeding time is at 11:30 AM and on a sunny day, as the air becomes warm, the animals enjoy the weather as much as the visitors and begin frolicking and the males courting the females. The visitors’ favorite animals are the monkeys on monkey island. While the males are playing king of the hill with the young tagging along behind, the smallest babies are clinging to their mothers as they climb up and down the rocks. There are much unusual moments to watch for hours and not be bored. It is the same over at the seal pond -the noisy seals putting on a frolic show for the spectators.
      For the most part during the day, the animals are outside in their enclosures, although a few lions and tigers are sleeping or pacing back and forth in their cages. The phrase “like a caged animal” would spring to mind as one paced back and forth in an almost frantic state. The gorillas in the monkey house are a sad sight somehow when comparing them to those in Parc National National Des Volcans in Rwanda to see the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.
       Fascinating to study is the baboon’s hand and feet at very close range. The knuckles, fingernails and
    lines on the Tinside of its hand are so similar to humans that one would be glued to the window of the cage.
      There is so much to see, plus the pure enjoyment of strolling through the landscaped gardens, that one trip is not enough. It’s interesting to compare the patterns of stripes on different zibras, to watch a young giraffe with ist mother, to laugh at the pose of the large male kangaroo, and to see the different species of bears that are in the park.
      The famous elephant house in the shape of a pagoda was destroyed in the war, but was reconstructed in 1999 and the grounds have more space for the elephants to roam around.
      Although one can purchase a combined zoo-aquarium ticket, it would be better off visiting each on a separate day. There is a nice restaurant on the grounds and on a special children’s party, long tables could be set up on request.
      Entrance tickets cost €8.00 (adults) and €4.00 (children) for the zoo or €13.00/€6.50 for a combination ticket to the zoo and aquarium. The Zoologischer Garten is open daily: April-September, 9:00 - 18:30 hours, October-March, 9:00 - 17:00 hours. The S- and U-Bahnhof Zoologischer Garten is one of the major transportation hubs so the zoo can easily be reached from any part of the city.

    and now...
    for a moment's

  Kiss me

  How to tell if your ass is too small!

      An atheist, bored hearing about an hour of religious preaching, challenged the preacher whether he really believed in the story of Jonah and the whale. The preacher answered: "I don't know, but when one day I get to heaven, I'll have a chance to ask Jonah.
      "And if he is not in heaven?" the atheist insisted.
      "Then you ask him," the preacher replied.

      This priest, after having looked for parking space in vain, parks his car in an illegal parking space. He then leaves a note on the window which reads, "Traffic officer, I have gone around this block about ten times and I couldn't find parking space. That's why I parked here. Forgive us our trespasses."
       Later when he gets back to his car, he finds he has been given a ticket, accompanied by the note, "I have gone around this block for about ten years and I have given tickets to traffic offenders without exception. Lead us not into temptation"
    Divine Golfer
      Jesus, Moses, and an old man are playing golf. Moses tees up and hits his ball into the water. Nonchalantly, he goes over to the lake, parts the water with his club, and hits the ball onto the green.
      Jesus tees up next, and also manages to land in the water, where the ball curiously floats. So he walks down to the lake, across the water, and hits his ball out onto the green.
      Last to tee up is the old man, whose ball heads straight for the water also. As the ball hits the surface of the water, a fish jumps up and swallows it and is immediately grabbed by an eagle, which deposits the fish on the green. The ball shoots out of the fish's mouth and rolls into the cup. Moses turns around to Jesus and says, "Gosh, I hate it when your Dad golfs with us.

      A story is told about a young man coming out from a church
    service one day. The pastor pulled him aside and said: “Young man, you need to join the army of the Lord.”
      The young man answered: “I am already in the army of the Lord.”
      “How come I don’t see you except at Christmas and at Easter?” The pastor asked.
    “I’m in the secret service.” He whispered in reply.

    Holy Water
       An Irishman working in an Arab country where alcohol was banned was spotted at the Customs counter after returning from a holiday in France.
      "What's this in this bottle?" asked the customs officer, taking out a large bottle from the Irishman's suitcase.
      "Oh," said the Irishman, "that is only Holy Water from Lourdes."
      "Hmmm!" muttered the customs officer as he took the top off the bottle and sniffed the liquid inside. Then he tasted some of it. "It looks, smells, and tastes very much like whisky to me, sir."
       "Glory be!" replied the Irishman, "'tis another miracle!"
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