Gosh, it was going to be a fun day at the zoo today, and not just any zoo, either. Eleven-year-old Tyler, his nine-year-old sister, Suzie, and their neighbor and friend, ten-year-old Andy, were being taken to the Creative Zoo of Imagination to see some animals that were made up from creative minds, animals made to look and act so realistic that they were like the real thing.
Their parents parked their cars and got out, instructing their kids to do the same. They walked through the gate, paying the fee to be admitted inside, and were soon within its borders.
"Remember not to use up your water bottles too quickly, kids," said Tyler's mom, "Because it's going to be a warm day today. Later, maybe, we can get you something tastier, like lemonade or soda, but for now, the water must do."
"Ooh," said Suzie, "Can I have fruit punch when we stop to get another drink?"
"Sure you can, dear," said her dad, "Just remember to behave yourselves, and you'll be free to eat and drink almost anything you want later."
"Yay!" said Suzie.
"First, we'll be stopping at the three Ape Houses, the Tundra, Grassland, and Wetland of the Apes," said mom, "There are apes there that can live in places the real apes can never live in, like swamps, grassy plains, and the snow."
"I'd love to see those!" said Andy.
"Me, too," said Tyler, "How far away are they?"
"Well, in fact, the exhibit is right over there," said dad. They walked over to a building and looked over the wall. This was the Wetlands of the Apes exhibit. A large pond of water surrounded by marshy plants and wetland was in the middle of the exhibit, and there, they saw a group of about half a dozen blue-skinned apes with little hair on their bodies. They were lounging around, playing, or generally watching the visitors.
The kids stared with fascination. "What are those animals, dad?" asked Tyler, "They look like chimps, but they're all blue and hairless, and their faces are brightly-colored."
Dad said to him, "Those are South American aquasimians, son. Unlike most actual apes, they can swim very well, and are good at fishing and eating fish, too."
"Look, daddy!" said Suzie, "That a-qua…sim-i-an is using a stick to fish in the water, I think."
"Yes, he is," said dad, "Aquasimians are tool users. They make their own fishing poles out of sticks and use worms as bait, similar to human fishermen, and they sometimes make tiny boats out of fallen logs. In fact, that one over there is eating an orange, and he's peeling the skin off with a sharp, flat stick."
One female aquasimian that was fishing on a makeshift boat suddenly came up with a little catfish, and right there in front of everyone, she gobbled it up. Tyler and the other kids stared with wonder.
"Wow!" they said, "She really can fish!"
Then, as a few aquasimians decided to go for a leisurely swim, mom and dad asked the kids if they were ready to go on. They wanted to watch a little bit longer. So their parents obliged them for another five minutes, and then it was on to the next part of the Ape Houses. It was the Grassland of the Apes, and it wasn't far from the Wetlands exhibit.
Here, Tyler, Suzie, and Andy found large apes that looked like gorillas, or large orangutans, but they were brown, and their heads were round. One of them was stuffing his face with avocados and bamboo shoots.
"What's that one, mom?" asked Suzie, "He sure looks like a big, brown gorilla with a yellow back to me."
"Well, it's not a gorilla, honey," said mom, "But it has a name similar to the gorilla. It's a yowilla, an ape that lives in the forests and grasslands of Australia. It can be found in scattered populations all throughout Australia except Tasmania, and I hear that some people have tried introducing it to New Zealand and a few Indonesian countries and islands."
Andy looked in the glass and tried to get the yowilla's attention, making "ooh, ooh," noises and funny faces. The yowilla turned and looked at him through the glass, and Andy looked back. The primate slowly ambled over to the spot where Andy and his friends stood, and put his fingers to his side of the glass where Andy had now put his own hand.
"I think that yowila likes you, Andy," said mom.
"Yeah!" said Andy excitedly. "I wish my mom and dad were here to see this!"
"Maybe if they weren't so busy today, they could've been here," said dad, "But at least we get to watch over you and see that you have a good time while they work."
"There's one more Ape House to visit," said mom, "Let's not forget to check it out."
With that, Andy said a nice goodbye to his yowilla friend, and they went indoors to an exhibit that was refrigerated on the inside. The hallways outside the exhibit were also somewhat cool, offering a little relief from the sun.
The kids looked inside the glass and saw only a few apes, one of them a baby, the others the baby's mother and her mate. But they were unlike Tyler and the others had ever seen before. They were large and white-furred, they didn't sit in the trees, and it looked like the zookeepers had built them a primitive igloo.
"I've never seen anything like that before, dad," Tyler asked, "What is it?"
"Those apes are inukapuns, according to the sign, Tyler," dad replied.
"In-ook-ap-oons?" the kids did their best to pronounce the name.
"Yes," said dad, "I know, the name is a little tricky to pronounce. But they're among the most unique of made-up primates, apparently. It's name means "the person of the snow" in Eskimo language, because they live in cold, barren places in the far north of Canada and Alaska, as well as Siberia in Russia, where there's a lot of snow and ice and strong wind. Because plant food is scarce where they live, they mainly eat meat, and are some of the best hunting primates ever thought up by creative minds."
The kids looked at the inukapuns in the exhibit. The fully-grown adult male was eating some kind of raw meat that the zookeepers had fed him recently. Tyler's parents told him and the other kids that the meat was most likely rabbit or fox.
"Eeewww!" the kids said, "Imagine eating a fox, or a rabbit, raw!"
Said inukapun seemed to be too wrapped up in his business with eating to acknowledge his visitors, but the doting mother walked over to the glass, just like the yowilla before, and peered at the family, as well as at the other zoo visitors. Her baby in her arms made clapping and hooting noises, indicating that he wished he could play with the human kids. Evidently, this baby inukapun was eager to get old enough to have some fun.
The mother suddenly walked away with her baby, and suckled her while she went to share the rabbit or fox meat with her giant mate.
"A fully-grown male inukapun can grow to be as large as a fully-grown male orangutan," said dad.
"Awesome!" said Andy. That got a chorus of agreement from his sister and friend.
"Ready to move on, kids?" asked mom.
"Two more minutes, mom, please?" said Suzie.
"Okay, two more minutes," she said, "And then we move on to the Monkey Gardens, where even more imagined, made-up primates can be found."
"Great!" said the children. "We can't wait! But first, let's finish here."
"No problem, children," said their parents.