Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Seattle: Day 3

Wednesday was zoo day, and we were just mere blocks away from the Woodland Park Zoo. I know their are many people out there who are not fans of the zoo--it can be depressing to see wild animals out of their natural habitat dependant on humans, and being gawked at by kids while they eat corndogs and ice cream cones. Zoos can be weird. That being said, the Seattle zoo is our hands-down favorite. It is designed to give the animals maximum habitat, to mingle with each other when possible just like in the wild, but also allows the viewer to get very close and really see into their world without being obtrusive. All the while, as you go from exhibit to exhibit, you are in a park-like setting thick with natural foliage, walking trails, and minimal obnoxious fluff (food stands, cartoony signs, etc.) When you first walk in, straight ahead is the african savannah, acres of land and trees and ponds where hippos, giraffes, zebras and antelope hang out all together! To reach the first viewing point, you get to walk through this life-size replica of an african village, complete with family huts, communal hut, and schoolhouse--its an easy lesson in culture for kids to grasp--and very well-done.


The giraffes are usually out on the savannah with the other animals but when the weather gets chilly, they go to their barn. On this day they were "necking" outside of it, playfully knocking and twisting their necks about....very fun to watch.

This dude was obviously the King--he exuded such an air of royalty, occasionally roaring and making deep, husky, repetative calls. The lioness lay near him behind the big rock. They seemed perfectly happy with their own slice of jungle.
I spotted these tame creatures among the bushes...
The elephant forest completely stole the show for us. We were able to able to observe the elephants very closely without huge bars--at one point we were moving along the path near the exhibit and heard heavy breathing close by and realized one elephant was right through the bamboo, it seemed as though we could reach out an touch him. We spent a long time sitting at a mini-ampitheater overlooking their pool and watching them wander back and forth between the different areas. What is really weird though is that while researching the zoo, I came upon a site that said this elephant forest is ranked as one of the worst in the nation because there is not enough space....then where the hell does the Portland zoo rank?? I found this habitat to be much bigger and more natural. We even watched one guy reach out with his trunk and eat off of the surrounding trees.
Just like a domestic kitty, this jaguar was snuggled on a warm rock and looked annoyed that we were disturbing his nap.
I could have spent all day watching the gorillas--the way they interact with each other, their poses and expressions....we are obviously not far off in terms of chromosomes....

Sadly after this, we headed home to pack...

5 comments:

elliesmadre said...

We will have to check out this zoo. It sounds like you had a great time. :)

Lee said...

Okay we have to go visit this zoo. Will hopefully do that this year!!

LA RN said...

Unsure about the zoo thing but I'm sure if I was with the kids I would be totally digging it!
How else are you going to see these animals?

Saam said...

i think the gorilla exhibit at this zoo is the best. i always spend SO much time just watching them! :)

UrbanHippieMama said...

oh wow...it looks and sounds really incredible!! we will have to go sometime.