that gorilla that got shot in The Lyceum Posted June 1, 2016 Not picking on you, Odine, but the "keeping animals in small enclosures for our own amusement" is a victorian/carny aesthetic that began dying out awhile ago. Any reputable Zoo, at least in North America, does a lot in the area of conservation (habitats and species), education, research, and outreach -- in particular, getting kids interested in animals, ecosystems, preservation, etc. IMO, my local zoo puts so much focus on preservation, I actually wish the pendulum would swing back just a little toward simple "Whoa, what a cool animal!" appreciation, though I understand why they do what they do. Of course, zoos vary wildly in quality, and yours very well might suck (in which case the "small enclosures for our own amusement" comment makes sense), but for kids whose parents lack the time and resources to take them to other continents on safari (i.e. most parents), a good zoo has healthy, mentally stimulated, well cared-ford animals, and can be a pretty great door-opening experience.