Two Saturdays ago, my mom and I decided to make the short drive to the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. We used to go at least once every summer with her sister and my cousin, who is a year younger than me. We would really look forward to it, I mean, it was a big deal to us as kids! Neither my mom nor I had been there in years and a lot has changed since I was a kid. There are some new exhibits as well as some that have been completely revamped with beautiful results. We're very fortunate to have such a wonderful zoo here in Cincinnati. I realize this looks like a lengthy post, but it is made up mostly of photos and captions. Enjoy!
There always seems to be a peacock everywhere you look when you're there. Some of them hide, some are in plain sight like this lovely guy below. He's standing alongside the track of the train that you can ride around the zoo. There is a tram as well that visits the places not requiring a track. Nice features if you're looking to sit down for a little bit and still keep moving and sight-seeing.
These little guys were inside the petting zoo. Am I the only one surprised to see penguins outside in the sunny 80º weather? I always thought they were all cold-loving. See? Plenty of learning opportunities at the zoo...
The giraffe area is one that is completely different from when I was a kid. They have lots more room to run around now. It used to be they were in a smaller roundish area, and you could pick leaves off the bushes surrounding it and hold them on the palm of your hand and they would lick them up! It was so cool! I suppose that was a hazard to both children and the giraffes. They now have specific times throughout the day where you can purchase giraffe food for a $1 and feed them while supervised by a zoo keeper. Much better idea!
Same sort of changes for the elephant area as well. More room – yea!
I wish I had taken the bigger camera. The dark lump on the ground behind this big male western lowland gorilla is actually a mom and her baby! She was lying on her back in the shade and baby was on top of her. It was the cutest thing!
The cat house has always been one of my favorite exhibits. It was done up really well probably 10 years ago. We caught this guy snoozing!
These little sweeties were in the nocturnal house... the fennec fox. One side note on the nocturnal house: I was super-annoyed by people who were not turning off the flashes on their cameras in there. People! These animals come out mainly at night. How do you think bright flashes make them feel?!? I mean, there are signs all over in there lit with black lights. Sometimes I just want to smack people...
This guy seemed to be waiting for a photo-op. The Yellow-backed Duiker. I don't remember seeing them before...
No one saw this guy until I started taking photos of him. He was nestled quietly up in the trees under the railroad bridge. I tried to get the full length shot, but I think I need some practice! Too many people started to stop too, so he started to stir...
This cheetah was sleeping and all of the sudden popped its head up and let out a meow that sounded like one of my house cats! It was so cute to hear. I don't think of big cats meowing, but I guess some do.
Beautiful snoozing Malayan Tiger.
Three good-size red ear slider turtles who reside outside the manatee exhibit.
The manatees! This was the first time I'd seen these guys. They've been at the zoo for a few years. A funny thing, they have these machines where you put a penny in along with two quarters (for the fee) and turn the crank and it will flatten the penny and stamp a zoo image on it, then spits it out. Beside that was one that made quarters. (I've seen them before at MGM Grand in Vegas, and I usually throw in a penny to see what I get out.) Well, my mom thought it was the greatest thing ever! She must have spent $10 between the two and we actually had to go back outside the manatee exhibit to the snack stand to get change for a five dollar bill so she could take it back inside and make more pennies and quarters. It was making me laugh.
This is one of my favorite exhibits and I'm thrilled that Siegfried and Roy chose our zoo for some of their cats. Really cool, if you ask me!
The white lions... I know he doesn't look snow white, but he's definitely much lighter in color than the ones you generally see. So majestic and beautiful. He was waking up from a nap and shifting to a different spot. Then, back to sleep. They have rotations for the males and females to be out in this area on different days. We were there on the male day, obviously.
This Sumatran Orangutan was awake and alert and checking everyone out.
Polar bears, taking a dip.
I thought it was nice of this little one to pose above his sign for easy identification – the scarlet-chested parakeet.
Two blue and gold macaws.
Another peacock, this one a female. She must be a greeter. She was right inside the entrance and let me get up close to her to get her pic! No zoom here. Maybe it wasn't the best idea I had all day, looking back. :)