I have never fed my hand to a shark

This year will be the last year that Dierenpark Emmen (formerly known as Noorder Dierenpark) will exist in its current form. Ever since I was just a little boy, we have visited this zoo, located in the center of the Dutch town called Emmen. Somewhere last year, Ryah and I found out that the zoo is to move out of the city and relocate to the secondary location they opened in 2008. For nostalgia’s sake, we decided to visit them in the center for the last time this year.

Last Tuesday, we went there: Ryah, our mother, Lena and myself. There were some issues getting there: we were given the incorrect destination, but Ryah and mom had some car issues, so we were not the only ones too late. After a short coffee break, we arrived at the zoo at a decent time.

I’ll spare you the details of our event, but in short: it was a lot of fun. Even though it’s been many years since our last visit, it felt exactly the same as I remember it. The fish puzzle, the zoo mascot pointing out various routes and facts, ancient computers where you can play a quiz, and perhaps most importantly: a shark.

If you’ve ever visited the shark tank in Dierenpark Emmen, you may know what I’m talking about. This particular shark hides in the dark until an unwary visitor sticks their hand through the hole in the glass and then… CHOMP! Say goodbye to your hand.

Well, in my mind.

In reality, this is a fake shark. It’s true that it’s hiding in the dark behind glass. If you stick your hand through the hole in the glass, the lights around it turn on while the shark moves forward menacingly.

In all the years that I visited, I have never dared put my hand through the hole. No matter how often my parents showed me that it’s safe, there was no way I would risk it.

Given that this may have been my last chance to do it (who knows whether the shark of doom would still be in the new park), I decided to conquer my fear and face the shark. I placed my hand through the hole.

It wasn’t as scary as I remembered it as a child. A bit, still, but less so.

There’s a video of this adventure, but we’ll have to do some video magic before we can upload that. I’ll edit that in later.

EDIT: Here it is:

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