trees, bamboo, shrubbery, bees, mosquitoes, sidewalks, wooden walkways, buildings, fenced enclosures, glassed-in enclosures, well-worn animal paths from pacing, fences, concession stand, restrooms, picnic tables, gift shop, informative signs, vending machines with animal food, garbage cans, fallen leaves, personnel on golf carts, janitors, animal trainers, children, parents with strollers, families, classes on field trips, birds, insects, fish, spiders, bats, reptiles, mammals, big cats, marsupials, rain forest animals, desert animals, grassland animals, arctic animals, woodland animals, rocks, pools, streams, caves, toys, food (cotton candy, snow cones, popcorn, ice cream, chips, fries, hamburgers, hot dogs), zoo cafe, stroller & wagon rental stations, smudged viewing windows, benches and steps, outdoor amphitheater for elephant show, cue card with animal information and photo, learning centers and activities, gift shop, play ground, lockers, washrooms
Animals: Tigers, puma, Elephants, Lions, Hippos, beavers, turtles, gorillas, howler monkey, spider monkey, panda, red panda, lynx, boas, porcupines, giraffes, bears, alligators, big horn sheep, moose, deer, zebra, ostrich, flamingos, peacocks, owls, bats, hawks, falcons, snakes, wart hog, vultures, fox, wolf, polar bear, black bear grizzly, leopard, snow leopard, chimpanzee, marmots, etc.
people talking, cell phones ringing, children laughing/whining/asking questions, babies crying, running feet, leaves crunching, stroller wheels, beep of golf carts, wind in the trees, insects buzzing, birds chirping/calling, flap of bird wings, various animal cries/growling, animals splashing in water, personnel giving informative lessons over microphone or to small groups, food orders being called out, the rustle of napkins, kids shoes and sandals slapping against the paved walkways, bees buzzing, shrieking, food wrappers crinkling, money jingling in pockets, voices echoing in indoor animal enclosures and stations, doors swinging/sliding/whooshing open and shut, fake rain forest sounds coming from speakers, kids pounding or knocking on the glass, parents losing their temper
animal smells (manure, wet fur, oily hair/fur/skin) fishy or algae smells in water enclosures or man made ponds, garbage, rain, food from concession stand (hamburgers, pizza, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, fries, popcorn), mosquito repellent, sunblock (coconut or flowery), perfumes, body odor, babies who need diapers changed, mud, wild flowers, dust, fresh grass or hay, rotting fruit
Fresh air, rainwater, bottled water, soda, concession stand food, sweat, mosquito repellent, sunblock, ice cream, chewing tobacco, gum, mints
wooden walkways/cracked sidewalks/fallen leaves underfoot, hot sidewalk, burning sun, cool breeze, drizzling rain, sweaty clothes sticking to skin, noses pressed against plastic/glass, frigid air of penguin house, perspiring soda bottles, melting ice cream, fence boards beneath fingers, gritty bird seed in hands, soft or coarse fur in petting zoo, wet noses, tickle of snouts as animals eat from your hand, greasy sunblock or mosquito repellent, pull of jacket around waist, bodies pressing together trying to see animals, being nudged, bumped, holding you hand out for change, the drip of ice cream on hand or arm, rubbing a napkin across the lips, brushing chip crumbs off clothing, smooth handrails, the weight of a camera in the hand or camera strap pulling at the neck, backpack pulling on shoulders
--The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.
I stood at the glass, stretching up on my tip toes so I could find a spot not smudged by kids' butter-stained fingers. To see a lion up close at last! I scanned the fallen logs, the grassy hill, under the bower of a poplar tree, searching for the king of the jungle. Finally I found him pacing along a well-packed path that spanned the fence line. As the great creature paraded back and forth over and over, my excitement faded and my heart began to hurt. It didn't belong here, caged inside wire and fed rations of meat. It belong in a place without barriers or borders. It deserved a life free of man where it could hunt and provide for its pride. As people around me gasped in awe of it's massive body and silky mane, I turned away and made for the exit.
"Mommy, look!" Sandy poked her stick-like hand up in the air as if she could touch the sky. "Big!"
I grinned and knelt down beside her stroller, seeing what she saw--her first look at a real giraffe. Sandy sucked in a breath as the creature's graceful neck leaned forward toward a tree branch. With careful precision, its tan lips stripped all the leaves. We sat there watching it's slow smooth gait as it went from tree to tree, until a zookeeper came into the enclosure and led the giraffe indoors.
--Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.
Example 1: (Simile)
The peacock strutted among the wild grass and marigolds, it's beautiful blue-green tail feathers trailing behind it like a bride's wedding dress.
Example 2: (Metaphor)
Mary and Arlen ran pell-mell down the leaf-littered path between the flamingo enclosure and the Lion Den Cafe, shrieking at the top of their lungs how they had to see the elephants right now. I hurried after them, praying they didn't knock anyone down. Funny how an ice cream cone, a bottle of pop and a bag of gummy bears could make two six year old seem less like zoo visitors and more like occupants.