Thursday, August 20, 2015

Our Return to the Toledo Zoo and Aquarium

About three years ago, my now fiance Greg and then roommate Kimmy all went to the Toledo Zoo and Aquarium. Yup, that's a zoo and aquarium all in one! Though the zoo part is admittedly much bigger than the aquarium part, the new expanded aquarium, which re-opened this year (we visited on the last day of its being open in 2012, coincidentally), has all kinds of sea, lake, and river life from all over the globe, and a hands-on pool where you can - gently and respectfully! - pet certain creatures. San Francisco's Aquarium of the Bay has a similar area where I once pet a shark! The pool in Toledo was surrounded by so many excited children, that Greg and I didn't bother waiting for it. Maybe some other time.

The aquarium is great, and not just because of all the cool stuff, like the pitch dark room with a wall of glowing eyes looking right at you. (!!) Actually, they're called Flashlight Fish and their eyes aren't what's glowing, it's the area right below their eyes, even though it does look like they are blinking at you. But no! That's not all! The aquarium is a great way to escape the heat for a bit. In 2012, we went in October, so the weather was on the cool side. Not so in August. So not only was the aquarium fun, but a needed break.

Up near the front of the zoo, Greg and I particularly enjoyed seeing the "deadly, deadly" cassowary, natives of New Guinea and Australia. We learned about the cassowary from an episode of House Hunters International. They're shy, but territorial, and possess a dagger-like claw on each foot that can cause serious damage by kicking, but has only resulted in one documented human death.

Toledo also has penguins, though I have to say the penguin enclosure is on the small side and not as impressive (or, admittedly, as smelly) as the penguinarium at the Detroit Zoo, which I remember reading a couple years ago is supposed to get a major face-lift and upgrade. The polar bear is cooler at the Detroit Zoo, as well, because there is a tube that goes under the water and you can look up at the animals swimming. We saw plenty of seals and the polar bear at Toledo, though, and there is a submerged viewing wall.

Near to the penguins, we found a Dippin' Dots stand. Greg had never had Dippin' Dots in his life, so I decided we had to get some, not because they're so great, but because when its so easy to try something you've never had before, why not do it? Greg was also able to finally pose sitting astride the tiger statue, something he wanted to do last time, but there were too many small children having their pictures taken to compete with. (It's a Dio reference that highly amuses him.)

I am hoping that next year, my brother, sister-in-law, and their kids can join us at the Toledo Zoo. Greg had a dream this time that they met us there, and I choose to take this as prophecy. (Though in the dream, only some of them were there, and I hope that everyone comes.) It's a bit of a drive from Kalamazoo, but it's also an adventure. Adventure!

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