There’s something exciting about wandering through an abandoned area, left as it once was many years ago, lost in time. My mind wanders off as I imagine which animal each cage held. I climb through a window to get into a small, dilapidated structure that is now empty inside. It could have been a ticket window to catch the monkey act with excited people lined up to get a glimpse of the cute creatures. Now, every inch of the four walls are covered in bright graffiti. I have discovered an appreciation for graffiti art simply because it adds a sparkle to something old and gives a new reason to admire it. As I enter the cages, almost immediately anxiety strikes and a horrifying feeling of being trapped flushes through my veins. To have the opportunity to walk inside zoo cages is rare and it is quite interesting to see the small space these animals used to call home.
I imagine the people that walked where I am waking, now a dirt road leading to different hiking trails, then street lamps, the noise of small children running and laughing and animals roaming about in their cages. I hear that faint noise of the announcer discussing the next show. The Old LA Zoo becomes alive again in my mind, for a moment, my version of what I have imagined it to be.
I remember when I was little my father would take me into the woods to search for old abandoned and rusted car parts and machinery, really anything we could find. I’d ask what each piece was and he would create an elaborate story so that in my mind it became alive. It was a treasure hunt adventure that peaked the imagination. Now, as an adult it is quite interesting to still have the same admiration for things lost in time. Los Angeles has so many of these hidden gems and I’m thankful the city leaves them behind so that future generations can discover them, learn about pieces of history that make LA special and ignite imagination.
The Old LA Zoo/ July 27, 2016 / © Jill E. Gallien