Tuesday, February 06, 2024

Atlanta Zoo

Here's that same picture of Zoë (who is still coughing up a storm but testing negative for COVID now) with the flamingoes, which were actually quite a clever attraction so close to the entrance of the zoo. I haven't been to many zoos, but I feel like both the entrances to the Hogle Zoo and North Carolina zoos spill patrons out into plazas looking at large animals, which are neat, but...I don't know. The flamingoes were just entertaining—flapping and splashing and squawking around in captivating ways that elegant giraffes just can't manage. 

It kept the children's interest while we all filed into the zoo and used the restrooms and oriented ourselves.

I'm not sure it was cold enough to warrant a big ol' winter coat like the one Phoebe is wearing, but she's got sweaters or this and nothing in between. So that's what she's wearing, and she was quite comfortable in it. She loves wearing hoods, so if her jacket has a hood, the hood is up. Alexander had his hood on for most of the day as well, as did Zoë. It does wonders for their hair...

Our main reason for visiting the zoo was to see the pandas, and they were delightful, bumbling about as they do. Amanda's little Prima was such a fun little photo subject; she kept surprising me with her fun poses.

This particular panda that was lounging so close to the glass was quite popular (the others were cute, but were father away). The kids enjoyed being so close while he rolled around. 

Instead of the stroller, we plopped Phoebe into the wagon with the cooler and things. It worked out rather well (probably in part because the zoo was so empty). 

She could get in and out much faster than in the stroller...though I'm sure it would have been safer with a seatbelt...but I figured we had enough people to keep an eye on her that we could keep her safely seated. Of course, having so many capable watchers runs the risk of everyone thinking that someone else is watching her so that no one's watching her (a frequent occurrence around pools, for example), but we managed.

Here's Andrew lifting Phoebe so she could get a better view of the panda in the cave:

Some of the animals we found most interesting were the fossa (which has an incredibly long tail), the Patagonian mara (which seems to be a mix of a rabbit and a deer), the Komodo dragon (and, for Benjamin, all the other reptiles and amphibians we saw)...

The naked mole rats were of particular interest to Benjamin as well, and their viewing room was pretty cool. They had these tunnels for kids people to crawl through to get in and out of the exhibit.

Amanda caught me crawling through the exit:

One thing we learned was that red pandas were formally described (by Western scientists) nearly 50 years before the giant panda was. So the giant panda was recognized after the red panda. 

Oh, another thing I learned was that the kookaburra is a bird of prey and can often be found bashing its food into branches to make sure it's good and still before consuming it. I, uh, may have always envisioned it as a gentler, gum-drop-eating creature. While I grew up to realize that gumdrops (unfortunately) don't grow on trees, the idea of a silly bird plucking berries or something off a heavily-laden branch, and it up. Evidently they're kingfishers (who don't eat a lot of fish). 

One of the habitats I found most impressive was the one for the orangutans. I mostly remember orangutans in sad, tiny enclosures (but that might because of the baby orangutan at the Hogle Zoo), but these orangutans were out in the open, roving about, which was nice to see.

(While I was doing a little research on orangutans in zoos, I came across this article about an orangutan at the South Carolina Zoo that escaped its enclosure twice. These particular orangutans didn't seem like they were plotting any grand escapes.)

Around this area in the zoo they had an exhibit about helping to prevent animal trafficking (which Grandpa thought was funny since all the animals in the zoo, if not considered trafficked by typical human standards, are certainly considered trafficked by the animals themselves). Still, I suppose it was good for zoo-goers to be reminded to leave wildlife wild. 

This part of the display was discussing how luggage can be scanned to check for live animals—turtles, in this case. There was a red panel you could slide over to see the turtles hidden inside the suitcase. 

Andrew joked that whoever's suitcase that was was trying to "burgle some turts," which Alexander found particularly funny. 

Let's see...I have so many pictures of the kids by these gorilla statues:

To shake things up, here's a picture of some kiddos (Alexander, Zoë and Prima) with a statue of a baby elephant:

Finally, here are some pictures of Phoebe rolling around the floor of the reptile house because the sun was shining through the window, creating a patch of "rainbow time" for her to enjoy. 

Probably not the most sanitary activity, but she loves rainbow time, and it's no worse than when I caught her licking the garbage can at the park the other day ("It yummy, Mommy," she told me). 

All in all a wonderful outing; we'll have to repeat it in the future!


  1. San Diego Zoo has flamingos at the entrance or did in the past.

  2. Certainly not the fanciest zoo, but worth the trip! And I loved how not busy it was! I also loved how close that one panda was. 😁 If you want to do the Smithsonian Zoo on your next trip, we have an O Line between two orangutan exhibits and orangutans frequently cross above your head!