Elmwood Park Zoo

We have a season ticket for Elmwood Park Zoo so we decided to take a trip there today with the grandparents in tow.  Temperatures got up to 90 degrees today so a lot of the animals were just flaked out: all we saw of the cougar and wolves were their rumps as they lay prone in the shade.  There were also masses of day camp kids for us to wade through but thankfully the park seemed to absorb all the hordes of people not too badly.

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Since they have all been to that animal park before, the kids enjoyed revisiting favourite animals.  They were pleased to see that Penny the alligator was outside for a change, sunbathing, as were the porcupines.  There were also some new features to the zoo for this trip, I presume because it is now peak season.  The boys liked the fact that there were misters switched on throughout the park.  They loved standing in the water droplets for eons and getting utterly drenched while the droplets created ankle-height rainbows.  They had also introduced a bat cave.  Back in Britain, the boys had loved – at both Chester Zoo and Fife Animal Park – walking among a room full of bats.  Here, however, the bats were segregated from the human visitors by a large glass window.  It was still cool to watch them dangling upside down and crawling hand over hand along branches.

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A less welcome new feature was the fact that to even access the giraffe viewing platform we were required to be feeding the giraffes and the feed came with a per person cost.   I appreciate that animals are expensive to care for and overheads are high but it seemed a bit cheeky to be charging to even view the giraffes.  I was, for instance, charged the fee to ascend to the viewing platform even though I was simply accompanying my children rather than feeding the giraffe.  The boys really wanted to feed the giraffes so, just this once, I sucked up the extra cost and they were handed a bunch of lettuce.  The kids absolutely loved the experience of feeding the giraffe and feeling his blue tongue lapping against their hands.

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The boys had never been in the aviary before as the timings had never worked out but this time we managed to enter and three of them decided to feed them.  This time I did not mind paying the extra fee since it was per stick of feed rather than per person entering the aviary.  The boys who did the feeding absolutely loved having the birds fly onto their hands and being able to see, close up, their beaks nibbling away at the fruit.  They all loved their sweet little faces and brightly coloured plumage.

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After an ice cream break and a run around the large playground, it was time to head home – and pack for our vacation.