Itâ€™s springtime! Unless itâ€™s raining as you read this, put down your paper, stand up, try not to spill your coffee, call in sick and go to the zoo! The Louisville Zoological Gardens may be open year round (with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Yearâ€™s Day), but the great weather this time of year will make the walk around our cityâ€™s spacious wildlife park, a trip worth taking. Ditching work to wander the grounds is totally worth it. Donâ€™t tell anyone, but I did it the other day.
A lot of people have favorites when visiting. I love going to see the orangutans at the Islands section of the zoo. This is probably because they love seeing me – and anyone else visiting these friendly social animals. They always climb down, move right up to the glass and observe whatever new variety of Kentuckian happens to be on display for their amusement.
The zooâ€™s Glacier Run, winner of the 2012 Best New Exhibit by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, continues to excite visitors with polar bears, snowy owls, grizzly bears, sea lions and seals. Qannik, the rescue polar bear, is enjoying her very well built habitat. While we all whined about it, she was one of many animal residents who enjoyed the extreme winter weather we had at the beginning of the year.
â€œThe polar bears were lovinâ€™ the snow, and the snow leopard did too, of course,â€ says Kyle Shepherd, Media Relations Manager of the zoo.
â€œThere are daily demonstrations with our seals and sea lions â€“ three times a day,â€ says Shepherd referring to a regular attraction.
While this place is excellent at creating conditions suitable for many birds and animals, the spring and summertime in Kentucky is also ideal for many of them.
New to the zoo is Sadie, the beautiful South American maned wolf. She recently found a home on our cityâ€™s fine animal preservation grounds. Gorillas and tigers can also be seen roaming their forest areas in the comfort of this warmer time of year.
The colorful plumage of birds from the southern hemisphere, are situated in the zooâ€™s signature Australian section, where you can roam through the Wallaroo Walkabout, which simulates a stretch of the countryâ€™s northern tropical climate.
Among the already existing places to eat, such as Outback CafÃ©, and African Outpost, you can drop by the recently opened Wild Burger for some beef, bison, turkey, or veggie Burgers, offered up with exotic garnishes.
There is also the new gift shop at Gorilla Forest, called The Congo Trading Post. The space has a lot of simian-themed toys and games for all ages. I thought about purchasing a large stuffed gorilla and bringing it into work the next day.
Shepherd tells me that on April 10, the zoo will be presenting Lego Brick Sculptures – featuring large animals that definitely donâ€™t bite – designed by celebrated artist Sean Kenney. This art exhibit will have a Lego play area and will invite interactive social media opportunities for people to build their own Lego animals. Iâ€™d better get crackinâ€™ on that life-sized hippo. The Lego show will run through July 5.
One particular section of the zoo is under some intense renovation, temporarily preventing the exhibition of lions, camels and zebras. This is because the elephants are being accommodated with new quarters. This section of the zoo should be ready later this year.
As always, the grounds are beautifully kept, filled with trees and nice plant arrangements. The daffodil field is quite a sight right now, as well.
With warm and breezy weather ahead, the zoo is ready for plenty of folks looking for a carefree day of animal observation, which offers a sampling of wildlife from all over the world, allowing normally bored people, like myself, to escape the everyday tedium, and itâ€™s a blast for kids. VT