A Local Hidden Treasure

20 06 2014

You guys. I think I hit the jackpot today with my “Mommy & Me” outdoor excursion I referenced in a previous post. My toddler deserved a fun day with Mommy after a week of random medical appointments and tests. Luckily, I had seen that a semi-local zoo was having a special day where adults could get in for kids’ prices (and toddler admission is always free), so we could make a day of the zoo for only $5. 

I should have known better. 

Upon arriving, the zoo’s unsightly entryway greeted us like a tourist trap, looking like a Wings at the beach. Which makes perfect sense, since the town’s tourist population comes primarily to see caverns. We ate a picnic lunch just off the parking lot, where our table was only accessible from one side because the rest was overgrown.

ImageWe headed to the entrance. I could already tell this place would be a gem. We had driven over an hour to get here, so there was no turning back!

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The entrance led us into the gift shop, which led to the “reptile room.” I saw a grown woman attempt to enter this room (the only access into the rest of the zoo), then immediately turn around and head back to her car, so I knew it’d be good. The zoo boasted 250+ animals (all rescues) on its sign, and I’d wager a majority of those were found in the reptile room. E was petrified. I actually don’t mind snakes, but I was a little frightened by whatever this was – it was twice as big as my 26-lb toddler. At first I thought it was a robotic dinosaur, but alas, it was real (I think) – an “alligator turtle.” I don’t know which ate which:

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And then into the zoo itself. My first impression assured me I’d be holding my bladder until I got home 5 hours later. Please keep in mind that I’m pregnant.

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We scoped out the monkey exhibit. They were playing with had available the same toddler toys E has at home. A laminated sign, dated nearly a year ago, promised that the monkeys would be treated to more-stimulating facilities soon.

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After passing by the monkey exhibit, we passed by a row of wooden crates, all dark and some empty.

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And then the signage started:

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There were a LOT of these.

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This warning (below) was just past the sign that read “Carnivore Viewing Area.”

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The whole time, I couldn’t get over the SMELL of the place. I’m no cat person, but it smelled like cat pee. It was definitely heaviest in front of the Bengal tiger exhibit, clearly the zoo’s pride and joy:

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I was even feeling sorry for her and her muddy legs and pen, until she walked up to the cage and SPRAYED US. Lifted her tail right up and projectile-sprayed us right through her wire cage. (I yelped and jumped back). The wire was actually rusted where she must do this all the time at tourists. E didn’t seem to notice, decked out in his park ranger/zoo keeper attire. He maintained a safe distance from most of the animals.

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Except for when he did his “come hither” beckoning dance at the tiger: 

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There was a petting zoo portion of the exhibits. I knew this could be a potential gold mine of laughs, but it was just your standard petting zoo. There was an old deer (E said, “that’s a NICE deer!”), a sleepy tortoise draped in misplaced hoses, and lots of goats, a donkey, and some alpacas (or maybe llamas?). I don’t know my petting zoo animals, clearly. E was a little weary of the petting zoo and stuck to sorting the used feed buckets and bowls. Gross. (As we were leaving, I overheard a lady say, “I feel like I need to take a shower now!” Amen, sister.)

We did not touch the animals, although I told E he could. 

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ImageThis was not part of the petting zoo, but the alligator exhibit left much to be desired. I guess dirty pool water replicates their natural swamp environment, no?

 

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I will say, a second monkey exhibit was {relatively} neat. E seemed to enjoy it and hated when the monkeys retreated into their cooler room.

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Afterward we stopped for some yummy local custard and a flea market. Once safely changed and CLEAN at home, we recounted our adventures to my husband while we savored kabobs off the grill just before a crazy lightning storm.

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Looking forward to more “Mommy & Me” adventures this summer!

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26 06 2014
Thoughts for Thursday | Summer Sun | Running MOMentum

[…] week while tickets were at a special price – you can read my recap of our crazy experience here! I do NOT recommend this zoo! Afterward, we went out for frozen custard – […]

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