Over the decades Toledo, Ohio has often been the butt of many jokes and the source of much derision. (Anyone remember that John Denver song, “Saturday night in Toledo, Ohio is like being no place at all…”?) But one of the brightest jewels in Toledo’s crown is its zoo.
Continually voted to be one of the top zoos in the nation, The Toledo Zoo is constantly striving to improve its exhibits and habitats. Since my children are now grown, I haven’t had occasion to visit the zoo in many years, so I was happy to learn that the preschool where I teach in the afternoons was taking a field trip there.
The zoo has been undergoing a lot of renovations lately, especially of its aviary which just recently reopened, and its aquarium – which had basically remained the same since its construction in the 1930’s. The new aquarium is set to open in 2015.
We could not have asked for a more perfect day to visit the zoo. The weather was gorgeous and the zoo was not crowded at all. Due to the fact that I had to work the morning at my other school, I didn’t get to the zoo until after noon. Our class was scheduled to have a presentation in the classroom area at 12:30 where the children were read a story and got close encounters with a few different animals. Then we all went to Nature’s Neighborhood where they got to pet the pygmy goats.
The teachers were then asked to accompany some of the children to the area of the zoo of their choice. The child I was with wanted to go in the hands-on children’s center and then we headed to the aviary. I talked my little charge into a short detour to see the new-to-me flamingo exhibit where I thoroughly enjoyed the flamingos, red ibis, and various ducks.
I could have spent a good amount of time in the aviary but I was following behind a very active four-year-old and his even more active two-year-old brother, which meant that I didn’t get nearly as much time to take photos as I would have liked.
It was fun watching this bird building its nest and manipulating these long pieces of straw into the small hole.
This is by far my favorite photo of the day.
After the aviary, the family I was accompanying had to leave to pick up another child from school. By this time, I knew I had very little time left to enjoy the zoo due to the fact that I wanted to get out of there before rush hour hit on I75. My director/boss and I took a quick walk through the primate forest and then stopped to admire the cheetahs, one of which posed quite nicely for me.
We then made a quick stop to see the new penguin exhibit and enjoy the antics of the fast swimming “birds”. I put my camera into sports mode and did several quick bursts of shots, which was fun to then click through on my computer because it looked like a movie.
Not bad for taking them through the glass.
I was very sad that I got to see so little of the zoo. I didn’t get to see the elephants, zebras, polar bears, reptiles, lions, or bears. My short glimpse of the new exhibits left me anxious to return when I have a whole day to spend admiring all the animals.
If you are ever in the Toledo area and are looking for something to do, I highly recommend The Toledo Zoo. It truly is a first-class zoo with wonderful exhibits and natural habitats.