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Going to the Zoo Zoo Zoo….

By May 26, 2019Adventures

On Saturday, we decided to finally adventure to the Detroit Zoo which has been on the list since moving back to Michigan. It was a beautiful sunny day in the Mitten for our first road trip in our new 2019 Toyota Tundra just picked up Thursday night.

I was quite excited to finally make the journey as Garrin and I visited this zoo on one our first dates many years ago so it holds a sentimental place in my heart.

Tickets were $18 per adult with an extra $8 for parking. You can save $5 admission if you purchase online I noticed after the fact. The zoo does offer annual membership plans as well and we could join for $98. We will definitely look into this savings for our next visit as I’d like to visit more often.

I was anxious to see the newer Polk Penguin Conservation Center  as I researched the exhibit online prior to our trip–even watching the fun penguin webcam one afternoon. The 33,000 square foot facility impressed me even more in person and it is located right near the entrance too.

It features a 326,000-gallon, 25-foot-deep aquatic area where visitors can watch as more than 75 penguins of four species explore their habitat.

This facility homes four types of Penguins: the Gentoo, King, Macaroni and Southern Rockhopper, ranging in size from 16 inches to 3 foot tall.

It was so much fun to watch these cute tuxedo dressed animals.

A few strolled right by us and posed for the camera.

There are several large viewing areas through-out the building to view both the habitat and the penguins.

On the way to the lower area, you walk past interesting photographs detailing the history of the Endurance ship from 1915 as well as a 4D motion video of the ship on the sea. There are even water mists in the air so you really feel you are on the high seas.

The lower area of the center has some great viewing areas too.

I loved watching the penguins dive into the water and swim around.

One even belly flopped though we did not catch that on camera.

There is an Mingle with the Macaronis experience package for $1000 with up to 6 people. This is so on my bucket list! It is already sold out for the season, though it was available back in April when I first researched the facility so looks like you need to book early. The penguins are definitely my favorite!

We walked to the Butterfly Atrium next. This area features Southern America temperatures and butterflies. It is small and intimate in comparison to the Federik Meijer Garden’s exhibit.

There were many different type and colors of the butterflies to observe.

This one was quite large and beautiful. The big blue ones kept brushing my arm and almost landing on me though we did not capture a photo of it.

After enjoying the butterflies we exited and entered into the Bird Atrium. Immediately, we saw these vibrant large red birds in the trees.

This little fellow was quite vocal and had pretty coloring.

There were even some ducks with striking colors compared to what I usually see.

We walked through the Reptile House next. I don’t mind the lizards and love turtles but the snakes are not my cup of tea. However, if you like snakes, this one was a pretty color.

The Iguana was quite large and posed for this shot.

My favorite reptile viewed was the Star Tortoise. They are actually quite rare and on the endangered list. Apparently people want as pets due to their unique shells. I hope they don’t go extinct. The shell is quite pretty and almost has a skull looking pattern within the stars.

The Otter exhibit is another fun one to see…though only one otter was playing.

The zoo hosts a family of four otters: Whisker and Lucias with their son Sparky who is partnered with Kaylee, a 2018 young rescue by Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

The orphaned pup had sustained a laceration and puncture wound on her side when she was discovered by hikers on a trail in Hoonah. The ADFG took her to the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage to be cared for until a permanent home could be found which I am happy to say she has at the Detroit Zoo.

We observed the camels next who recently welcomed their newest addition, a baby girl named Tula who weighed 128 lbs at her birth on March 27th of this year. Tula is named after a river in Mongolia and is the third camel born to mother, Suren, and father, Rusty. She joins her brother Humphrey, born in 2014, and sister Rusi, born in 2017. The gestation period is 12-14 months and the baby camel’s humps grow after birth. We saw Tula cuddle with her mother which was quite sweet.

The Lemurs were hanging around in trees and one fellow was quite active.

I love their little faces and the striped tail of the Ring Tailed Lemur.

The Gorillas and Chimpanzees had decided to swap places in their area/near the display signs; perhaps for the element of surprise. I kept expecting this guy to pound on his chest.

The Flamingos are always so pretty in pink. I often wonder how their “knee” joints on their stick like legs support their bodies. The Detroit Zoo showcases Greater and Chilean Flamingos.

We saw them fly and run spreading their colorful wings.

Next we saw the pretty patterned Giraffes.

This guy was happy to pose in the background as we grabbed a quick photo of ourselves.

He then had a snack of grass and posed for another shot.

We strolled through the Kangaroo Outback Sanctuary where you follow a path through the habitat. The Kangaroos are loose and can walk anywhere in the vicinity. As it was quite humid, the animals were taking a siesta. This was another favorite part of the visit as it reminded me of seeing the zoo in Mexico where you were often among the “free” animals.

The day had been quite warm and pleasant weather wise, however we could see from the clouds that the rain was fast approaching. We strolled past the Prairie Dog exhibit which is quite fun. Kids can get up close with the inhabitants inside viewing bubbles placed within the habitat. The rain was falling so we quickly visited the pigs in the barn and headed towards the exit. We had a great day at the Detroit Zoo and will visit again soon.

Liz Ball

About Liz Ball

Liz Ball is a freelance writer focusing on Michigan travel and local events in her community.