It's not the first time Gingrich has waxed poetic about the zoo while on the campaign trail. While spending time in Des Moines, Iowa, Gingrich carved out time to visit an 85-year-old tortoise at a local zoo. The former House Speaker made a similar pit stop while fundraising in San Diego and expressed frustration when a planned election-day visit to the Birmingham, Ala. zoo was cancelled. According to the Associated Press, Gingrich claims to have visited over 100 zoos in his lifetime.
Gingrich has spoken previously about how as a child, he dreamt of growing up to become a zoologist. He said a visit to a battlefield when he was 14 changed his mind, orienting him instead toward public service.
In fact, Gingrich's first foray into public life may have been zoo related. The AP reported that Gingrich worked to start a zoo as a child in his hometown of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.