Category Archives: Zoos & Aquariums
A trip to the National Zoo. Between the subway trip to the zoo, walking from the station to the zoo entrance, and making sure the kids had enough gas left in the tank to get back to the subway afterwards we maybe got through half the zoo. It’s nice though, where the Los Angeles Zoo is spread out in a way which feels discouraging because the exhibits are smallish and far apart, the DC zoo feels like it just has enormous animal enclosures. This might be the first zoo I’ve been to where most of the enclosures feel like they have multiple viewing areas. And it’s great because this means that the animals are always within view.
Seeing the Giant Pandas was a particular thrill. I remember waiting forever to “see” them when they visited San Francisco back in the mid-1980s. What a disappointment. After waiting in the line the pandas were hiding behind the bamboo and I maybe saw a paw. In DC though, the enclosure is fantastic and the pandas are happy to just hang out and chew on bamboo out in the open.
Back to the Philadelphia Zoo with our membership and camera in tow. The kids weren’t feeling it this visit. End-of-summer malaise to the point where they really need the structure of school. Also, it was super crowded since we went on Labor Day weekend. Oh well, we got to see a fair number of baby animals.
Two trips this summer. Usually I only get to go once. It’s funny, as much as I prefer the local-focus of aquariums, I’ve been finding myself trying to rationalize that with how zoos are generally much much better in terms of animal husbandry and acquiring their exhibits. I love that zoos provide a place for rescued animals and are actively involved in trying to save species through breeding programs. I just dislike that they all seem to focus on the same charismatic megafauna and none of them really explain what the local wildlife scene is.
Aquariums meanwhile are almost always local but it seems like most of the animals on display are captured from the wild. I find myself increasingly wondering what the cost of this is both in terms of how many animals don’t survive their capture—or their captivity.
Our yearly visit to the San Francisco Zoo. We managed to catch the Polar Bear getting a snack of a whole rabbit. It’s nice to see the zoo keeping things real and not pretending that meat doesn’t come from other animals.
We also went across the street afterwards to spend some time at the beach—which was cold and windy just as God intended. The kids had fun playing chicken with the waves. The grown-ups tried to stay warm.
So we bought a membership to the Philadelphia Zoo this year. Looks like we should have a lot of fun visiting it. I’ve had my rants about zoos before on this blog and I stand by the idea that I’d love to see more local animals at zoos in the same way that aquariums tend to focus on local sealife. At the same time, I have to admit that zoos are much much better than aquariums when it comes to collecting animals from the wild and breeding them in captivity.
Anyway, I should have fun photographing the animals all year too.