“I don’t know about this Patty.”
“C’mon Clarence. He has never left the door open before.”
“I think we should just stay here, who knows what could be out there.”
“It will be fun. There is so much to explore.”
“I'm fine with exploring right here.”
“Alright suit yourself. I'll see you later” Patty said before he slipped through the cracked door.
Patty has lived his whole life in the Central Park Zoo. His habitat is all he knows but he yearns for more. He has explored every inch of his habitat and is always wondering what else there is in the world. Patty loves people, whether it be his trainers that bring him food or the hundreds of visitors that come to his habitat, he enjoys interacting with them and making them smile with his goofy antics. Patty has always wondered where all these different people come from and where they go when they are not visiting. Do they go live in their own habitat? Who do they play with and who is their caretaker?
One day Patty woke up from his midday nap energized and ready for a swim. He headed towards the edge of the rock ready to do a belly slide into the water. The belly slide was a big crowd pleaser and he liked how it made the little humans happy. He got ready to go when he looked up and saw that no one was there. “How strange,” he thought, “there are almost always people at the penguin exhibit”. He waddled over to the end of the habitat to find his best friend Clarence.
“Clarence!” He exclaimed. No response. “CLARENCE!!!”
“What!” Clarence responded harshly as he emerged from behind a rock.
“Where is everybody?”
“I don’t know, I’ve been sleepi..” Before Clarence could finish his sentence they were interrupted by a door opening. It was the zookeeper bringing fish.
“Hi Clarence. Hi Patrick.” The zookeeper said to them and gave each of them a fish.
“Hi Humphrey!” Patty and Clarence responded. (Which just sounded like penguins gawking to him.) The zookeeper continued towards the other penguins. Patty turned back towards Clarence before realizing the door didn’t shut all the way.
He takes one last look at his home and best friend and slips through the door. I’m going to find out what is out there he thought to himself. And off he waddled toward the front gate and into Central Park.
While in his habitat Patty always felt safe but now he was somewhere new, he was now in the human's world. Now, looking at the huge expanse of green lawn and trees, surrounded by the tall buildings on all sides, Patty couldn’t wait to discover the truth about the world and where people went and what they did when they were not at the zoo. Patty heard loud noises behind him and turned around to see massive animals, people, and objects in the sky. He even saw a penguin.
“Woah…” He murmured to himself. Patty wondered what those were and how a penguin could fly. Part of him was scared, he had never seen anything like that before, but at the same time he wanted to know what they were, he needed to know. All of the humans must be there he thought to himself and headed off towards the strange flying objects As he was waddling he saw a family in the distance walking towards the flying objects also. Patty became very excited; he had never seen people outside of his habitat before. His waddling quickened as he tried to catch up to them. Maybe now he could find out what people did and what they were like when they weren't at the zoo. Patty decided to observe the family more closely. They seemed to laugh and play a lot just like his family. One time the mom yelled at the little girl to be careful as she climbed up on a rock to get a better view of the balloons in the air. He remembered his mom scolding him for doing something similar in his habitat.
Suddenly, Patty heard a really loud whooshing sound and heard screams from the crowd in the distance. One of the balloons had gotten loose and was zig zagging in the air out of control. The humans all looked up at the sky and seemed to helplessly wait to see where it would go. In an instant the balloon started heading straight for Patty the family. Patty dove behind a tree and watched in horror as the balloon hurdled toward the family. It gets closer and closer but at the last second it changes direction and lands right next to them.
Patty is so relieved that they were ok and he observed them recover from this random event through the branches of the big tree he was hiding behind. First they seem stunned, then from tears the little girl begins to giggle, and the next thing you know they are all rolling on the ground laughing so hard they can’t stand up. When they pulled themselves together they went to the hot dog stand and bought some lunch and sat together to relive their crazy experience. “Wow,” thought Patty, “the world outside my habitat sure can be crazy and unpredictable.” Patty realized then that even though there is still so much of the world to discover, he missed Clarence and his family. The humans and their world are not so different than his own, families and friends spend time together, have fun together, and go through hard time together.
Patty decided he would come back another day to discover more of the world outside his habitat but for now he would waddle back to the zoo and his home and hopefully the door would still be open.
“I don’t know about this Patty.”