Sunday, July 4, 2010

Animal Crackers

Looking for some activities around Cleveland? The Cleveland MetroParks Zoo is a great way to spend the day and is one of the greatest deals in town.

Zoo Cheetah
Sleek and chic

During April through October, the admission is $10 for adults (12+ years of age), $7.00 for children (2 - 11 years), and kids under 2 years enter free. During the months of November through March, the admission is $3.00 and $2.00 cheaper for adults and children, respectively. The Rain Forest is an additional $5.00 and $3.00 for adults and children. Parking is free.

These are pretty reasonable rates to roam the world, exploring lush forests under a canopy of trees, plodding through savannas, and wandering the desert. From what I've read, you're allowed to bring outside food and beverages. We didn't bring any food, but we toted a small bottle of water during our recent trip.

Zoo Flamingos
Cue: Miami Vice music

A significant deal takes place on Mondays when the zoo is free. The Rain Forest is an additional fee, as well as the Dinosaurs! exhibit ($1.00). If a holiday lands on a Monday, the free ride takes place the next day. I took the day off in mid-May so we could go when the weather was tolerable, with temperatures in the 50s, instead of during the summer amidst heaving throngs of human flesh in the oppressive heat and humidity.

We unfortunately missed The Scoop on Poop exhibit that began its run at the end of May and will end in mid-September, as well as Flutter!, under construction when we visited. It is advertised to be an exhibit where hundreds of African, Asian, and South American butterflies freely flutter in the Public Greenhouse. Of course, we can always visit the zoo again, but Cleveland is still very warm in September.

Zoo Dinosaur with Hatchling
Iguanodon and hatchling

Dinosaurs! is an exhibit of 15 detailed animatronic dinosaurs represented by a roaring Tyrannosaurus Rex that stands 20 feet tall, Iguanodon, an herbivore from Europe, Brachiosaurus, and others from Europe, Australia, North and South America, and Africa.

One of the dinosaurs sprays water which appeared to be a favorite amongst the school kids. Even the Iguanodon hatchlings pictured above move.

While it is a rather small exhibit, at only $1 the detour through the forest and lake to the Australian Adventure exhibit is an interesting trip back 65 to over 200 million years ago. Dinosaurs! is available through September (2010).

Zoo Aus Sign

Aside from the koala, wallaby, and kangaroo habitats, the Australian Adventure offers a rather immersive experience. We explored a homestead with place settings at the dining room table. Of course, I peeked into the cabinets and uncovered some cooking supplies and ingredients.

Signs everywhere were Aussie themed and were rather cheesy, but that made it quite endearing. The Boomerang Line is a train ride around the 8-acre exhibit. The New Guinea singing dogs live near Kookaburra Station and Ballarat Theater. I took several pictures of them, but they didn't come out well.

Zoo Aus Koala Shy
Shy koala napping

The zoo has snakes, wolves, beavers, bears, a spiffy aquarium, and other animals in their own habitats without being a part of a thematic area.

Zoo Bear
Salmon run or something

Every time I see a polar bear, I think of our fifth ferret, Kumori. Kumo loved to nap. All ferrets love to snuggle up and nap, but he was our chill ferret.

Zoo Polar bear

If it were safe and they allowed us to bring dogs, I would jump on the chance to take Akemi on a brief tour. I have a feeling that she probably wouldn't care about the animals who wouldn't pay any attention to her. However, she soaks up the adoration showered upon her by humans every time we walk outside of the house with her. She barks when people do not stop to pet her.

Zoo Music Girl by the Birthday Party

- Cassaendra

Cleveland MetroParks Zoo
3900 Wildlife Wy
Cleveland, OH 44109
Tel: (216) 661-6500

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