The next day, Christopher’s father apologizes for hitting him and announces they’re going to Twycross Zoo. There shouldn’t be too many people because it’s supposed to rain, which Christopher likes. Christopher has never been to this zoo, so when they arrive, they buy a guidebook. As they walk around, Christopher decides which animals are his favorites: a red-faced black spider monkey who used to live on a ship, the Patagonian sea lions, and an orangutan lying in a hammock it made itself out of pajamas.
Ed seems to think he can make everything all right with this outing, although he still doesn’t address the actual issues surrounding Christopher’s mother. At the zoo, Christopher connects with the animals and their stories in a way that he rarely does with people. He seems to feel a similar sympathy with dogs and with Toby, his rat.
Christopher and Ed eat lunch in the zoo café. Ed reminds Christopher that he loves him, and even when he sometimes gets angry, it’s only because he doesn’t want to see anything bad happen to Christopher. Christopher doesn’t entirely understand this, but he does understand that his father loves him, because he helps him out of trouble, takes care of him, and tells him the truth.
Ed makes a number of decisions throughout the book that are ostensibly to protect Christopher, but end up having negative consequences. It’s clear from this scene that Christopher doesn’t really understand how both of these things might be true at the same time. Christopher does make it clear that for him, love includes telling the truth.
Christopher draws a map of the zoo from memory. He and Ed go look at the giraffes, and then they head home.
Christopher likes knowing exactly where he is in relation to everything around him, and he’s good at visualizing space.