Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Spring Break 2017 - Zoo Trip!

On Tuesday of spring break, we decided to try out a new zoo (for us).  We typically head to the Smithsonian's National Zoo in DC several times per year.  It's a beautiful zoo and it's free.  The animals are usually out and about and we love seeing the pandas, lions/tigers, gorillas, etc.  However, we've heard great things about the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore lately, so we decided to check it out.   We were blown away by the place!  So impressed.

We had no idea what to expect as we pulled up, but we weren't alone because hundreds of cars were pulling in at the same time.  The day was forecast to be hot, so we sprayed on the sunscreen and headed for the LONG line.  Luckily, I noticed a line for members and online tickets, so I quickly logged onto their website and bought our tickets.  Within three minutes, they were scanning my phone and we were in and skipped the lines!

We had the option of "hiking" into the zoo or taking the shuttle.  We decided to walk and it was only a few minutes later that we spotted the first exhibit (and maybe our favorite)... the penguins!  The DC zoo doesn't have a penguin exhibit and this one was brand new to the Maryland Zoo.  It was beautiful.






We decided that we'd make our way back to the penguins in a bit and instead starting heading down to the African journey area of the zoo.  We heard a rumor about giraffe feeding and we wanted to get down there before the crowds.  

We passed quite a few other animals that we stopped to check out on our way to the giraffes, including...



Flamingo


Rhino

Leopard feeding


The DC zoo definitely has a better lion/tiger exhibit

And then we got to the giraffe feeding station!  I think Nick and I were more excited that Georgia!!!



Meet Caesar!  He's my new BFF!!



I swear this giraffe smiled at the camera!



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It was so cool to feed a giraffe!  His tongue was sooooo long.  I love Georgia's reaction at the end jumping up and down.  It was absolutely the highlight of the zoo (and maybe all of spring break).

After we fed the giraffes, we headed down to the giraffe house to meet baby Willow (just 2 months old).





We stopped by to say hello to the elephants...





The chimps were going crazy when we got to their exhibit since they were about to be fed.  One alpha male was definitely not pleased with the others and kept chasing the other chimps.  One chimp came down to pout and then had himself a little temper tantrum.  He ended up chucking a huge barrel at the window where we were all standing!  



Temper tantrum chimp!

We hiked back out of Africa and stopped by the penguin exhibit to get a closer look.









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While we were inside, I spotted the sign about how you can rent out the penguin exhibit for a party.  WHAT??!!?  I'm already planning Georgia's next birthday party.  We're just going to need 100 of our closest friends and a little bit of extra cash.  But it would be amazing!





We took a quick lunch break and watched the penguins swim around before heading over to meet the bear cubs!  As we walked up to the exhibit, they were RIGHT THERE!  Nova and Nita were rescued from Montana after their mother was found shot and had to be put down.  The smaller of the two cubs had actually been shot too!  They definitely looked like they were enjoying their new home in MD!







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After the bears, we climbed up to tundra buggy to view the polar bear.  Originally, he wasn't anywhere to be found, but Georgia was thrilled to pretend to drive the tundra buggy around the Arctic for a bit.  The tundra was air conditioned, so Nick and I were more than happy to take a seat and (literally) chill for a bit!





Eventually, the polar bear came out and Georgia was not thrilled to see that his preferred snack of the day was peanuts!  Yup, my kid booed the polar bear.





The tundra buggy was definitely a very different and innovative way to get to view the animals.  We could sit (in the AC!) and watch the polar bear on one side and the two cubs out the other side.  Very cool.



She was more entertained by the "driving"

If there is one thing that Georgia loves at a zoo, it's a carousel!  Of course, she had to take a spin.





The afternoon was definitely HOT - our first official hot day of spring.  Georgia was so excited that they sold ICEE, so she slurped down a strawberry lemonade to cool down before we took a short train ride (again, something not offered at the DC zoo).  The food options at the Maryland Zoo were superior to the DC zoo, which are notoriously horrible... and few and far between, so you wait in line FOREVER.  Nick was over the moon to enjoy their beer offerings on a hot afternoon too.



One cool chick


Train ride

Originally, when we arrived, Nick and I assumed we'd be done with the whole zoo fairly quickly.  The map wasn't huge and there didn't seem to be that much to see.  We were SO WRONG!  It was like the zoo never ended.  There was always something else to do or to experience.  

We thought we were headed toward the exit, but then found another whole area of the zoo filled with barn animals and woodland creatures native to Maryland!



Brushing the goats


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And then, in the middle of the woods, was a giant slide... made out of a tree!  The place NEVER ENDS!!





We finally, finally, finally wrapped up the zoo (I'm 100% certain we saw every animal they had) with the birds...







I don't know how Georgia's little legs did it because my legs were worn out!  We definitely took the shuttle back to the car on the way out.

Overall, an amazing day.  It's not often that we get to hang out with just Georgia for the day, so I think it made her feel special to have us all to herself for the day too.  

And just when we thought we were done with animals.  We got home to find another baby bunny in our yard!  Meet Hoppity!






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