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Looking for Love

Zoo Tells 'Tourists' All About Birds, Bees and Monkeys


SANTA ANA — Go ahead and laugh, call it Tour Voyeur or Noah's Naughty Ark, but it's really a mature method of studying the few things common to all species of lovers.

It's a way of witnessing the primitive underpinnings of human procreation.

All right, all right--it's an excuse to watch monkeys doing it.

Whatever the motive, the Santa Ana Zoo is conducting its second annual "Valentine's Day Sex Tour," an hourlong exploration of the rude urges that course through all living things, especially Ken Wright.

Wright--an affable married guy from Anaheim who seemed particularly fascinated by the tormented "bachelor" lemurs--talked his wife and several neighbors into joining him on the sex tour, which cost $15 and began at the uncivilized hour of 8:30 a.m.

(A second tour takes place today, but forget it: After Jay Leno mentioned the tours in a recent monologue, tickets sold out faster than you can say "fornicate.")

Setting aside the wisdom of dragging oneself out of bed to learn about sex, wasn't the early morning tour redundant for a man like Wright, who already has three children?


More importantly, wasn't Mrs. Wright a wee bit worried that Mr. Wright has such a keen desire to . . . watch?

In a word, yes.

"When I told the neighbors where we were going," said Sharon Wright, "they were like, 'What is up with Ken?!' "

Sharon Wright said the real problem was explaining to the baby sitter where she and her husband were off to.

"I had to explain it in Spanish," she said. "I used a lot of body English."

With curator Connie Sweet acting as guide and gentle parent, the tour wound its way among the different cages and exhibits of the zoo, never actually encountering a bird or a bee in flagrante delicto, but often pausing for several minutes to study various critters' "private parts."

(Many similar euphemisms for genitalia were used, and used often.)

"I heard we were coming here to watch the animals mate," said Sharon Wright, frowning.

"I thought I was going to see some monkeys doing it," said her friend, Shelley Griffin.

"It's just nice to get out of the house," said their friend, Lori Stuewe, a new mother.

Actually, the tour served a kind of conversational purpose for all three women, each of whom has recently given birth, and each of whom is trying to persuade her husband to have a vasectomy.


"Wives with knives," Ken Wright grumbled.

Despite the lack of "action," as Sharon Wright kept calling it, the zoo tour was heaven if suggestive language is your thing.

In other words, it was one of the few places on Earth--outside of Times Square--where the following statements were uttered in calm, evenly modulated tones:

"She will attempt to grab the male and rub her rump on his rump . . ."

"If she is not in the mood she spits on him . . ."

"She's working her way down, down--ah, that's foreplay."

Though more than a few Orange County residents have phoned the zoo in recent days to decry the sex tours as distasteful, it all seemed to be in good fun.

For instance, when Sweet asked the group if they'd ever seen a two-toed sloth in its natural habitat, no one laughed harder than Glenn Timmons when his wife, Tempie, pointed at him.

To get everyone in the mood, complimentary champagne cocktails were served before, during and after the tour.

One man--among the few on the tour without a date--apparently imbibed too much free wine, which caused him to giggle like a schoolboy at every word that was uttered.

Maybe it was fitting that the most satisfying moment of the tour came at the end, when Sharon Wright wandered off by herself into the bug house and spotted two black cockroach-like insects copulating furiously.

"There," she said, smiling. "We finally get to see some action."

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