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Denver Zoo: A Solo Experience

Morgan Navas | November 17, 2023

How well do you know the place you live in? Have you ever really taken the time to explore it? 

Am I going to regret not taking the time to experience this thing? 

What is stopping me from doing it on this random Monday afternoon?

Why am I letting the fact that there isn’t anyone around to go with right now stop me from doing it alone? 

These are some of the thoughts I was facing as I set out to conquer the Dever Zoo. With the goal of getting myself out of my comfort zone more this year, I was trying to challenge the barriers I put up as an excuse not to branch out. In doing so, I set out with the intention of embracing the experience as just that- simply an experience, neither intrinsically good nor bad. 


Fortunately for me, I’ve been in the area for long enough that I was familiar with how to get there. But for those new to it, there were plenty of signs, for both the zoo and botanical gardens, and plenty of free parking! I went on a whim, with just my purse, water, and new Papershoot camera. But I would definitely recommend sunscreen and some snacks, too! I bought my timed entry ticket online, and got there early, but had no issue getting in. 


Personally, I was quickly overwhelmed by the sheer amount of people, especially for a random Monday afternoon. (I quickly learned that I accidentally chose a day that local schools were not in session, a little unfortunate for my plans of a quiet afternoon). But I chose to just pick a direction and head towards it. 

Something about me? I tend to stay towards the back of a crowd, reluctant to possibly get in the way of anyone. I struggle as I feel like others are more deserving of the front-seat experience. I tell myself I am content watching from a distance, even when I find myself missing out on things this way. I found myself struggling with this at almost every exhibit I came by. But as I watched the children run around, carefree and full of excitement. It got me thinking about how it felt to be a child at the zoo. I was never concerned about what my actions or excitement looked like to others. The social anxiety hadn’t yet hit by that point. I found myself inspired to live a little more like a child.

Live like you want instead of how you think society wants you to. 


Now, I couldn’t go and ramble about the zoo without at least including some cute, animal pictures, could I? My personal favorite was all the monkeys that were jumping between branches and trees. Oh, and did I mention the BABY BABOON? (Which I sadly didn’t get any clear photos of, but trust me, it was adorable!) However, the giraffes and elephants definitely deserve some honorable mentions. 


I write about this as a way to share my experience of doing things scared and embracing that life doesn’t always look like the media. Sometimes it looks like shaky hands and fear of judgment, or it looks like facing fears, or it looks like learning to take things as they are. I share these things in hopes of normalizing the fear of adventuring, especially solo, and helping others realize that they can do those things too. Even if it only reaches one person who needs it, I want to help them see that there is someone in their corner, a fellow shy girl, just trying to live a life she won’t regret missing out on later. Do the thing. Even if it’s tough today, one day it will be a story to tell, good or bad. 

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