Wednesday, July 4, 2012

C'mon out to the Zoo, Zoo, Zoo!

Ever since J was a toddler, we (or at least I) have been taking her to the Pittsburgh Zoo. Once or twice, we went when it was free (thank you, RAD). Mostly, we would go with the Pittsburgh chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association. And the past two years, J and I went during the week when the Penn State College of Education sponsored a day at the Zoo, most recently last week.

I love our zoo! I cannot say that enough. I could spend all day there, but unfortunately, we seem to end up going on days when it is near or over 90 degrees. Still, I have never had anything less than a great time there.

As creatures of habit, we always start out clockwise with the tigers and leopards. When it is hot, those guys and gals aren't too exciting, so we tend to see them (if they are not hidden) and quickly move on.

I like to spend a few minutes looking at the flamingos because they are so pretty.


 I am not too enthralled with the rhino, but I still manage to get a pic for good measure.


Eventually, we work our way to the elephants, which are one of my favorite zoo animals. This year, because we got there early, the zoo was not crowded, and we were able to spend a good five or six minutes watching those guys.


The giraffes were not out when we walked by, so we made our way to the indoor rain forest, which is the only part of the zoo I rush through, thanks to the heat/humidity and smell. I was not able to get any good pictures in there this year, unfortunately. But I did get a cool shot of a gorilla in the field outside that area.


For reasons I forget, there were only two bears at the zoo, and neither one was much interested in posing for a picture. But with the heat, I was happy to move on the aquarium at that point. This year, I tried to spend more time checking out the dozens of tanks; there are so many cool things inside them. I also looked at some of the plants and flowers as well (the one below was neat looking). If the kid was not with me, I probably could have spent a couple of hours there.



One of the cooler things about the aquarium is the tunnel that kids can go through to get close to the stingrays. I don't remember the stingrays being that big last year, but I was not about to touch them regardless. J was slightly more brave!



After the aquarium, we headed to the polar bears. Normally we spend more time there, watching the bears play in the water, but this year there was only out, and he was not too exciting.


There also seemed to be fewer sharks, and the tank was pretty funky, so no pics there. The sea lions must have been close to nap time, because they were not giving their A performance. As a result, we spent very little time there as well. We did, however, spend a few minutes watching the baby sea lion, but the pictures my phone took were too crappy to post.



Once we visited all the "regular" animals, we headed to J's favorite section, Kid's Kingdom. You can get up close to (and often pet) animals as well as climb up and slide down things.

The deer were hanging out at the top of their area, where you cannot go, so that was a bummer. The "rickety" bridge was also closed, which is another favorite of Jordan's.


 But we were able to get close to the kangaroo.


After that, we spent some time in the goat/sheep petting area, where the creatures mostly sat around. They were probably too tired and hot to move away from my kid. That said, the sheep was not too appreciative when J squirted water in its face.





Normally, we spend a bit of time in the park section, but J managed to climb the spider web, go through the mole tunnel, and climb the rope ladder in record time. After all, lunch was only a few minutes away!



After we ate some burgers and dogs and the most delicious macaroni salad and crunchiest chips with other College of Education alumni and friend (and after I won a College of Education glass in the drawing!), we took a ride on the train. Although I wished the train actually toured the zoo (I guess the tram does that, though it is more for people who are too tired or unable to walk), it does provide a nice history of the zoo.



For whatever reason, I was actually sad to leave the zoo this year. I hated to think that it would be another year before we went back. But at least it gives us something to look forward to.

We love the zoo! If you have not been or if it has been a few year, go now!

5 comments:

bluzdude said...

I love the zoos!

I remember going to the Pittsburgh Zoo once as a kid... One of the chimps must not have liked the looks of my Grandpa, because he fired an apple at him, which exploded against the glass right in front of Grandpa's head.

That monkey should have been pitching for the Bucs...

Facie said...

Not sure if we ever went when I was a kid, but it has certainly changed from the time I went when I was a young adult until I went a handful of years later with a kid. It is so huge now.

That is funny about Grandpa. I kept waiting for the leopard to try to scratch at Jordan. It would have made for a good photo.

Anonymous said...

We love the zoo too!!! Have to get there this year. Great pictures.

Facie said...

Anonymous: Yes, go (when it is cool!). Thanks. Considering how awful my pics from my phone usually turn out, I was pretty happy with the vast majority of them.

Carpetbagger said...

I went to an evening wedding reception at the aquarium. It was spooky to walk through the closed zoo at night to get there. But what an awesome reception with all the fish swimming around us.