Akron Travel Blog› entry 12 of 22 › view all entries
Day two of Erin's visit found us heading west again, this time in a more northernly bent. We arrived at the zoo shortly after its opening at 10 AM. The directions from googlemaps were only a little confusing; I think exit ramps and mini-connecting turns sometimes get street names even though you are on the "road" for all of three seconds. The directional signs for the zoo were small, but we were able to follow them to the big entrance sign. Another entrance lane opened up just as we turned in so finding a parking space actually worked out really well.
We entered the larger entrance building where members got to by-pass the ticket lines and head to the left. We had to buy our tickets and pay for parking but the line was not bad (it was twice as long a few hours later when we headed back out to the car).
Almost as soon as stepping into the zoo itself we encountered our first animals: the penguins! These guys were from Chile and were definite fans of the cooler temps this week as they frolicked in their outdoor pool. Animals out from underneath trees and shelters would happen a lot this day, so I'll try to summarize more than give a play-by-play.
- As usual lemurs are cute
- Alpacas had been sheared in the not too distant past and now had fuzzy heads
- Jaguar was pacing up on its ledge
- We wondered how the capybaras felt with their enclosure right next to their natural predator the jaguar
- We were both awed by the bright blue of the hyacinth macaws and the fact that the yellow around their eyes was not feathers but skin
- Lots of little bats in one of the glass enclosures in the bat building
- The theming in this first section was neat with its native designs
- Snow leopards have fuzzy ends to their tails
- The five bald eagles are all unable to live in the wild but were neat to see fairly up-close.
- It is a lot easier to identify the birds in the aviary if they stay in one spot :P We did much better with locating waterfowl and ground birds than the smaller ones flying around in the tree branches.
- Grizzly bears look a lot smaller in captivity than in Yellowstone. One was having a great time in the pool and swam right up to the window
- Molly and Emma, the river otters, were awesome. They were running around the land portion of their enclosure so while the kids were going down the clear tube slide that cuts through the water portion of the enclosure, Erin and I got to watch the two play for probably close to ten minutes.
- We were only able to spot one of the two red wolves. Rue was just sitting and Katniss was nowhere in sight
- Usual farm animals, a lot of sheep and goats
- We were not tempted by the train, definitely for children
- Lehner Family Zoo Gardens were very pretty. I loved the arbor and the fountains
- Frontier Town for kids was a cute-looking play area; the little houses actually had props in them!
- I felt that the Wild Prairie area should have had prairie dogs
- Tiger Valley had a little bit of an Asian theme to it
- The red panda was close to visitors when we got there.
- The barking deer was so tiny and adorable!
- The sloth bear was pacing, the Sumatran tiger was zonked out in the corner.
- We noticed the female lion right away since she was sleeping on top of a table-like rock. Then she moved over to a log in the sun and suddenly we realized the male was in the back behind her.
- Journey to the Reef was a nice cool indoor space (almost too cool actually!)
- Galapagos tortoise had its back to the crowd and was munching on lunch
- Komodo dragon was back in its space but was watching
- Several varieties of jellyfish, not Erin's favorites but I thought the moon ones were neat
- Also got to see starfish, an octopus, and poison dart frogs that aren't poisonous because they aren't eating the food that gives them the ability to have venom
- We decided not to do the touch pool
- Dippin' Dots break :)
- Both male and female Sika deer in an enclosure that followed the path but only had a window for a little portion
- Flamingos are getting the right nutrients; they're pink!
We also really liked how schoolkids were able to register before entering and then as they walked around the zoo, they received a backpack that they then filled with supplies for the school year.
We found the car easily, gave our parking space to some teens (with possible little siblings in the backseat), and headed back east where we would have lunch at Chick-fil-a and visit a craft store.