Monday, August 26, 2013

Summer Fun and the Detroit Zoo

I finally got a day off of work last Wednesday! Amazingly enough, my boyfriend Greg also had a day off. So what did we do? We went to the Detroit Zoo!

The Detroit Zoo is actually located outside the city of Detroit in the suburbs of Royal Oak and Huntington Woods. It was opened in 1928 and was the first American zoo to have cage-less exhibits. The Horace Rackham Memorial Fountain, created in 1939, serves as a major icon and is featured both on postcards and in many souvenir photos of the zoo's visitors.

Lately, the zoo has been advertising for people to come see their new twin baby red pandas. Although we did not see the babies, Greg and I were still lucky. Despite the heat and humidity, many animals were quite active. One adult red panda was wandering around, shaking its cute, furry, red butt while another was clearly visible dosing high in a tree. Greg got a few good pictures before the strolling red panda went back into their den. When walking, red pandas look a lot like domesticated cats. They're about the same size, too. Well, about the same size as my cats, anyway.

Other cute animal photos we got were two cuddling lizards in the reptile house and some snoozing barn owls in the farmyard area. (Click the pictures to enlarge them.)

In the Arctic Ring of Life, there is a tube that goes underwater where you can see seals and polar bears sometimes swimming. When we first arrived, there were plenty of people in the tube, but no animals. It was hot outside, and the tube was nice and cool while still being interesting to look at, so we sat down. I'd say in under a minute, a polar bear dove in right behind us and the zoo attendant started yelling, "Bear in the water! Bear in the water!" I felt like I should jump up and leave, like when a lifeguard yells, "Shark!" But we stayed, and got some great shots. The last time I was at the zoo with my former roommate Kimmy, I got a video of the polar bear circling over us. Sadly, I can't find that video right now. So hear is a cool pic instead!

With our admission to the zoo, we received a coupon for Buddy's Restaurant Pizzaria, a great source for Detroit style pizza, so that is where we headed for dinner after a full day at the zoo! (And after that, we came home and went swimming for the first time in the apartment complex's pool, so it was a very full day, indeed.)

I've heard a lot of people say the Detroit Zoo isn't as good as the Toledo Zoo, but there are so many things at both zoos that make them unique. Walking through the enclosure with  nothing between you and the kangaroos and wallabies in Detroit is a pretty neat experience! The Toledo Zoo has an aquarium (which is actually under construction right now and won't re-open until 2015). It also seems bigger than the Detroit one. Both are about equidistant from me and only a little over and hour from one another, so it's easy to visit them both.

Since all zoos serve important rolls in animal conservation (at least one animal we saw at Detroit is extinct in the wild and only now found in zoos), I see no reason to pick sides. 

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