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The Philadelphia Zoo is a Series of Tubes   Leave a comment

Tiger in the Tube

Our summer vacation took us eastward this year. Our first stop was Philadelphia. There, we checked out the Philadelphia Zoo, the nation’s oldest zoo. I was rather impressed by their animals, as well as the enrichment they were afforded.

One of the neatest bits of enrichment was Zoo360 Animal Exploration Trail, a series of enclosed paths for animals to meander. They had it for primates, but I first encountered some goats.
Goats on a Bridge

But the coolest was yet to come: Big Cat Crossing. This path allowed their lions, jaguars, leopard, cougars, and snow leopards to explore the zoo. When we were there, a pair of tiger brothers, born at the Columbus Zoo, were watching the crowds.
Tiger Tube

Looking Down on Us

They really are handsome cats.
The Sun is Too Bright!

In the big cat area, we also got to see lions.
Makini the Lion

Maya, a female snow leopard was there with her two (older) cubs, Buck and Ranney. The cubs were quite active, pouncing and wrestling with each other.
Tag! You're It!

Teasing a Sib

Peek-a-Boo

Tusslin' Flurry

Pondering the Next Pounce

Though her kids tried to get her into the mix, Mama Maya decided to stay above the fray.
Happy Maya

Such a pretty snow leopard!
Pretty Maya

The tiger girls were in their enclosure, stalking.
Stalking Tiger

Sniff!


One came right up to the glass I was crouching by to take pictures, and sprayed right next to me. At first I was disgusted, until my daughter pointed out by “marking” me, she was claiming me. I was…honored…really.
Contemplative Tiger

There were black-footed kittens!
Sleeping Like a Log 2


Of course, they were all asleep. Still quite cute.
Cats Love Boxes (Whatever Kind They Are)

Was this one getting up?
Wrong Side of the Bed

Nope. Just shifting.
Sleeping Like a Log

A Canadian lynx sat in the sun.
Sunny Lynx

There was a cheetah nearby. A keeper gave a talk, discussing his encounters with different cheetahs who passed through his care. The cheetahs had a lure system, which the keeper seemed surprised was good enrichment for the worlds fastest mammal.
Philly Cheetah

Cheetah Trot

The series of tubes proves to be enrichment for homo saphiens, too.
Rebecca in the Tubes

My daughters new favorite animal is the red panda, which I’m a fan of, too.
Peeking

Quite cute and fluffy!
Snack Time

O HAI!
On the Platform

Tony is a southern white rhino with a big horn!
Tony, the Southern White Rhino

Ever see a Galapagos tortoise cuddle puddle?
Tortoise Cuddle Puddle


Serious close-up!
Snugglin' Tortoise

I liked watching the maned wolf. Such striking color.
Maned Wolf

Having obsessed over their pens lately, it was nice to see brown pelicans Crackle and Snap.
Snap and Crackle

Overall, I really enjoyed the Philadelphia Zoo. It was a good size for walking around and spending a day, and they clearly cared a lot about their animals. And the animals seemed to enjoy each other.
Changing of the Guard

All Over the Toronto Zoo   1 comment

A six hour drive westward brought us from Montreal to Toronto, where Canada’s largest zoo is located. The Toronto Zoo has a large collection of animals, as well as visitors in the parking lot.
Birds on Cars

In terms of area, this is the largest zoo I’ve seen with the exceptions of the Wilds and the San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park. Most of the large animals had enormous enclosures. For example, the bison practically had a prairie.
Bison in the Field

The Bison were in the Canadian Domain section. Half of the small cats we saw were there. Two Canadian Lynxes were hanging out in the drizzle. One was trying to hide from the rain.
Lynx Hiding from the Rain

The other didn’t let it deter him.
Lynx in the Rain

They also had a pair of cougars. When we were standing there, we learned that a government agency released a couple of cougars to take care of an overpopulation of fishers, a fierce member of the weasel problem.
Relaxed Cougar

We saw plenty of “moose crossing” signs as we drove through Quebec, but never saw a moose (or a deer, for that matter). We watched this gentle giant enjoy his lunch.
Moose (No Squirrel)

The big thrill in Canadian Domain was the grizzly. One appeared to be juvenile.
Romping Young Grizzly

The boisterous youngster seemed to be intent on playing with an older bear. Personally, I wouldn’t mess with her.
Mama Bear

Adjacent to the Canadian Domain was the Tundra Trek, showing the animals of the Arctic.
Peeping Wolf

Our favorite was the Arctic wolves.
Arctic Wolf

The Arctic fox was displaying his summer coat.
Arctic Fox, Summer Coat

Sleep-Walking

I liked the snowy owl.
Snowy Owl

The polar bear was having a lazy afternoon.
In a Cave

One thing I found interesting was an inuksuk, a marking stone used by the Inuit.
Inuksuk

The America’s section was home to the otters.
Underwater Otter

We always love the antics of river otters.
Otter on the Float

Waving Otter
Hi there!

The spectacled owls watched us as we entered.
Spectacled Owls

One enclosure had parrots and capybaras. A capybara got a bit too curious about the parrots’ goings on.
Nosy Capybara

He was escorted off their perch.
Pushy Parrot

The Toronto Zoo has two jaguars. One is tawny, taking a bath.
Bathing Jaguar

The other was melanistic. It looked a little like Luna.
Black Cat

The cheetah keeper was giving a talk at 1:30. We got there at 1:27, and saw no cats. Right as my watched hit half-past, we saw a head.
Peeking Cheetah

Zeek the cheetah knew when he’d get a snack.
Zeek Looks for His Snack

Happy Cheetah

Such a handsome cat.
DSC_9800

Phhhht!
Phhhhhbt!

Next door was a white lion pride. A male.
Lion Meatloafing

…and two females.
Lionesses

We watched them for a bit. I think we bored him.
Dreamy Lion

Obviously, this was in the Africa section, also home to Southern white rhinos.
Rhino Butt!

The antelope played in the drizzle.
Antelope

And African elephants. African elephants have larger ears than their Asian counterparts.
African Elephant

I’ve seen plenty of pictures of sugar gliders, but I don’t think I’ve seen one in person before.
Sugar Glider

This was in the indoor Australia exhibit. I liked the reptiles, such as a one year old emerald tree boa.
Juvenile Emerald Tree Boa

The bearded dragon just watched.
Bearded Dragon

A sign indicated that their clouded leopard was an older cat, and the zoo keepers were trying to keep her comfortable. She simply dozed as an older feline should.
Tired Cloudie

The gaur is a fairly rare species–from what I can tell, the Toronto Zoo is the only one in North america who has them. Also known as the Indian Bison, it is the tallest species of wild cattle.
Gaar

The spider tortoise is one of the smallest of the tortoise species.
Spider Tortoise

Only one of the two subspecies of tiger, the Sumatran tiger, was visible when we went.
Relaxed Tiger

A reindeer was sprinting around his enclosure. It was fun to watch him run.
Reindeer Sprint!

The Toronto Zoo is getting two giant pandas on a five-year loan.
Panda, from Above

There was a large “Interpretive Center” on the way in, speaking about these creatures. It left me perplexed: they eat only one species of bamboo, but only get nutrients from about half of what they consume. They eat all of their waking life. Have they become overspecialized?
Panda with Bamboo

The Eurasian exhibit was, for the most part, closed. A tram went through part of it. We were told we could see the snow leopard, and given a series of wrong directions, leading us to circumnavigate much of the zoo, only to finally find out that, while the snow leopards were still at the zoo, they could not be seen while we were there. This exhibit is being remodeled, set to open in 2014. This was a major disappointment to me.

However, it was still a very impressive zoo. We were there pretty much from opening to close, and I’m not entirely sure how we would have fit in another section during our time there. The exhibits were well done, and there was a lot of space for the animals living there.

My Puffin Education   5 comments

In Montreal, we paid a visit to the Biodôme, a facility that replicates the four environments found in North America (rainforest, woodlands, the waterway of the Saint Lawrence river, and the arctic). Each of four areas was populated with the flora and fauna of the respective environment. It was a fun site to visit.
DSC_9592

The tropical area had not only the parrots, but a pair of caimans.
Caimans

In the Saint Lawrence, some birds splashed about.
Just Splashin' Around

The sole cat was a Canadian lynx (there was a live camera of the other lynx…and their kittens).
Canadian Lynx

In the arctic, there were penguins and puffins. I don’t think I’ve ever seen puffins in person before.
Puffins on a Rock

I always assumed they were similar to penguins, and therefor flightless. But looking at their wings, they were of a different design.
Puffin Wingspan

In spite of their stout bodies, puffins can fly! Though their enclosure didn’t permit a lot of space, I got to see short hops.
Takeoff!

I learned something pretty cool!
Puffin Flight

The Biodôme is located on the site of the 1976 Summer Olympics–the building was originally the velodrome. Next to it was the stadium, with the tower meant to support a removable dome.
Montreal Olympic Stadium

There are many more animals at the Biodôme, and they had some great exhibits.

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