My daughter has been at camp this month, leaving my wife and I alone. This gave us a weekend to ourselves. We felt that the combination of being temporarily childless and our anniversary entitled us to a romantic weekend away…
Not an obvious choice, but there were a couple things we thought would want to do. One of the things we wanted to check out was the Akron Zoo. Zoos are a favorite of my family, but, in particular, we wanted to see Malaya and Makalu, their baby snow leopards.
They weren’t quite three months old when we got to see them, and were only out for about an hour-and-a-half. There was a line to see them–groups were allowed to go to the window, and you could get back in line (which we did–four times). It was actually well run. When we got there, Malaya, the girl, was climbing about as snow leopards (and, really, all kittens) are want to do.
Her brother was dozing at first.
On our second pass, he moved to the other side, where he could see the deer in the next enclosure.
It was then that we realized that Shanti, their mother, was in there with her. She was quite stunning.
With mom around, everyone settled in for a nap (and a family portrait).
I have a 16:9 aspect ratio version of this photo for use as wallpaper on Flickr.
We walked by the snow leopard enclosure later–it was near the entrance–and Roscoe, the father was out. He was equally handsome.
If a bit cheeky.
Near the snow leopards was a cool jaguar.
Jaguars are one of three cat species who enjoy going in water (along with tigers, and, of course, fishing cats). This jaguar wanted his floaty.
Speaking of tigers, Jae Jae was dozing. Cats do sleep a good chunk of their days.
Shani and Tamarr, the lion couple looked quite magnificent on their perch.
The second most interesting cat was an example of felis silvestris catus, a domestic cat.
She was stealing the food from a pair of storks.
We were told that this was a stray who had a kitten. The keepers were trying to catch her, but haven’t had much luck. They said that the storks don’t seem to mind. The cat, however, got a bit annoyed when they took a step too close.
One thing we did learn in all this is that storks are carnivores. I hadn’t really considered it one way or the other.
The birds were pretty cool. They had five non-releasable bald eagles.
I’m afraid I got a bit too close to the burrowing owl. Once again, I’m sorry, little guy!
The flamingos were hanging about in their pond. They always make me think of my mom.
Two different canids were present. We loved watching the coyote run around, even without a road runner.
Next door, a red wolf napped in the sun.
“Why did you wake me?” (We didn’t really wake him, but he did look like he could use a cup of coffee.)
The otters got a great tank to swim in, and we could easily get different views of them–and them us!
I love to see red pandas, even when they are in a ball, as Zheng demonstrates.
There was a small aquarium, which had lionfish, a favorite of mine.
And a Galapagos tortoise sunning himself.
I really liked the Akron Zoo. It is a smaller zoo, but all the enclosures seemed very up to date. Their app is awesome, and gives the names for many animals (in some cases, I couldn’t tell who’s who, but nice to have some idea). They had some neat displays, such as one showing how coral exhibits photoluminescence.
There was a slide that went through part of the otter’s tank. They could easily stay away from it, but I saw them swim along with sliding kids (or, kids at heart).
There was a cool sculpture by the eagles.
One think I really liked was that almost every enclosure had a tag for an advocacy group for that animal. For instance, by the snow leopards, there was one for the Snow Leopard Trust. Appropriately, I was wearing one of their t-shirts.
We had a great time at the Akron Zoo, and definitely think we’ll need to go back with our daughter.