UPDATE: “CLEVELAND (AP) – A 9-year-old giraffe at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has died from an acute and untreatable urinary condition. Officials say the giraffe named Travis died at the zoo on Friday. [June 24]”
The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has added an animal encounter that has proved popular amongst visitors: the opportunity to feed the giraffes. Under supervision and from an elevated platform, visitors may feed the long-necked beasts from a near (giraffe) eye-level position. Feeding the animals looked like fun but watching visitors do it was more interesting to me.
Shadow Down Below
Flies! I hate Flies!
Continuing our tour of zoos around Ohio, we visited the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Among the large exhibits at the zoo is a habitat for Polar Bears featuring a large “rocky” dry area and a very large pool. A great feature of the pool is an area below the water level from which visitors may observe the bears swimming through a huge and extremely thick acrylic window. The day was warm and the bears were being pestered by flies, one even snarling as the insects buzzed around its snout. Swimming apparently cooled the polar bears while providing relief from the flies. One bear repeatedly demonstrated its skills at the “backstroke!”
Watching the Bear Swim
Snow Leopard Cub
We made an afternoon visit to the Akron Zoo today and found it to be quite wonderful. It is, as municipal zoos go, perhaps a bit small but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in quality. The premises for both visitors and residents (the animals) were clean and the grounds nicely laid out and landscaped. In addition to the excellent animal exhibits, an impressive formal garden graces the grounds. Most animals are viewed through large expanses of glass with no moats separating visitors from them. When the zoo says, “You’ve Never Been This Close!” they mean it! Of the photographs I shot today including a vocal Bald Eagle, a tiger on patrol, and playful wolves, my favorites were of a young Snow Leopard cub, and a Red Ruffled Lemur. The Snow Leopard, one of a pair born at the zoo April 14, was lounging close to the glass while its mother watched from far back and high above within the terraced enclosure. The lemur looked out and about from its indoor residence with curious and soulful eyes. It was a fine visit and we will be sure to visit again soon!
Red Ruffled Lemur
She Who Must Be Obeyed bought herself a new camera yesterday, so what better way to spend our Sunday than at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo! Near the entrance to the park is the zoo’s expansive African Elephant Crossing enclosure. Despite temperatures in the low-40s, all of the big animals were strolling around in the open air. The cloudy skies made conditions a bit chilly for us visitors but softened the midday light: perfect for portraits of people or pachyderms!
The elephant enclosure is behind post-and-cable containment that, though lacking high-voltage warnings, looks like it came directly from Jurassic Park. There are plenty of vantage points for humans to watch the elephants, and places created for elephants to seek fresh treats secreted within concrete walls made to look like stone outcroppings.
Open Wide and Say Hay
We spent quite some time observing and photographing the elephants. Though we went on to see the Australian Adventure area, the primate-cat-aquatics building, and the African Savanna, I think our first sights and photos of the day — the elephants — were our favorites. By the way, these pictures are mine but She found her new camera to be quite to her liking. Her little Canon PowerShot SX50 produced images with terrific detail, excellent exposure and contrast, and lovely color — all without manipulation. The 1,200mm-equivalent zoom with image stabilization, all packed into a small all-in-one package, made me a little jealous.
Smiling for the camera? Nah, “Ma” is resting and munching some hay.
On Saturday we visited the Lake Metroparks’ Farmpark in Kirtland, Ohio. This rather unique park is dedicated to giving visitors a taste of farm life not far from their city and suburban homes. The farm has sheep, milk cows, horses, and other typical farm animals. They demonstrate the care and feeding of those animals and maintain a milk production facility. This weekend the park hosted their annual Maple Sugaring event.
“Stay here, little one.”
Typically, visitors can see how maple sap is collected (the traditional buckets and a newer hose-fed system), and boiled down into syrup and sugar. Maple products made at Farmpark are available for purchase. It also happens to be nearly spring. A family favorite was the barn where young livestock were housed with their mothers: kids and lambs only days old, and young piglets. We spent a good long time in that barn and, after shooting many photographs and succumbing to cuteness overload, left pleased to have seen the kids (human and goat) interacting with such joy.
Keeping it Tight