Just Zoo It

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.

The bronze memorial to the pandas that were loaned to the zoo many years ago.

The bronze memorial to the pandas that were loaned to the zoo many years ago.

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.

Pygmy goats- guard your shoelaces!

Pygmy goats- guard your shoelaces!

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.

Flamingos!

Flamingos!

Hooded mergansers

Hooded mergansers

Red ibis

Red ibis

Pretty in pink.

Pretty in pink.

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.

Pretty tropical birds - I don't know what kind. :)

Pretty tropical birds – I don’t know what kind. 🙂

It was fun watching this bird building its nest and manipulating these long pieces of straw into the small hole.

Nest-building bird.

Nest-building bird.

This is by far my favorite photo of the day.

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

IMG_1983 (1024x768)

IMG_1989 (1024x768)

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.

Cheetah!

Cheetah!

Cheetah close-up, check out that claw!

Cheetah close-up, check out that claw!

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.

Penguin fun.

Penguin fun.

More penguin fun.

More penguin fun.

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.

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11 Responses to Just Zoo It

  1. avian101 says:

    Thanks for the tour to the Toledo Zoo Amy! 🙂

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  2. I almost feel sorry for the residents of Ohio, they are the butt of so many jokes. But, the zoo looks like one of the better ones that I’ve seen lately. You’re braver than I am, I wouldn’t want to be following preschoolers around in a zoo.

    Like

    • There is a lot wrong with Toledo, the blight is really sad and unemployment is fairly high, but the zoo is one of the highlights the city can be proud of. Of course, it’s expensive to get in – $15, which I think is a lot, plus parking. They really push their memberships, which are worth it if you are going to visit more than one time in a year.

      It was hard to keep up with the preschoolers, they didn’t want to stay in any one place long enough to get photographs! 🙂 After the goats, most of them just wanted to go to the playground. LOL

      Liked by 1 person

  3. kathydoremus says:

    Fun! I am hoping to go to the Atlanta Zoo next week. Brings out the kid in you, doesn’t it!

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  4. Bob Zeller says:

    I love the zoos. The closest one here is the one in Abilene, TX. Not very large but very nice. I had a chance to visit the very large nice one in San Antonio, but it rained and all of the animals stayed in their respective shelters. I had to keep my camera under my jacket. Someday I may return. But many thanks for your wonderful photos of the Toledo Zoo.

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    • I’m glad you enjoyed them, Bob. I know zoos are often controversial, but the Toledo Zoo has really strived to provide natural environments for their animals. I remember the old days when they were all in iron cages and you could ride the giant tortoise. Matter-of-fact, I have an old photo of me somewhere, around age 4 maybe, on that tortoise! Several years ago the zoo renovated the old “cat house” where the big cats were caged and turned it into the Carnivore Café where you can now sit in the cages and eat your lunch!

      I bet the San Antonia zoo is wonderful. Small zoos like the one you described in Abilene are very nice, too. When we go visit Mark’s mom in Salisbury, MD, we often visit the zoo there which is small but super. I love the otters there! 🙂

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  5. tootlepedal says:

    You certainly make it look inviting.

    Like

  6. Pingback: A Walk On the (Kinda) Wild Side – Part I | 45 Degrees North

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