So I showered up, grabbed our shoes and we headed outside. Yet we didn't go to the park that was so close. Instead we caught the bus. About 20 minutes later, we arrived at the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium.
We walked the entire length of the zoo, seeing every exhibit we could possibly see and every animal that was out and about.
It's strange about the way we see a zoo for the first time. While my parents "claimed" they had taken me to the zoo, I can't imagine them walking the entire breadth of the place.
So this was my first official visit that I could remember. The zoo isn't like what you imagine from those Pepe Le Pew cartoons on Loony Tunes when he is chasing the black cat with the painted white stripe on its back.
You, at first, imagine cement and steel cages with the animals sitting comfortably in the enclosure. Yet this zoo was more wild-like, as if you are walking through the jungle and you happen upon the animal in its habitat as you hope it doesn't spot you. Many enclosures had a drop-off point and a small fence to keep the people back. But it definitely had a more, traversing the wild, effect even indoors.
As for a little background into the history of the place, the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium is 117 years old and ranked the 3rd top children's zoo across the nation. Out of those 117 years, there has only been one accident.
It actually happened recently, when a woman placed her child on the railing to the painted dog enclosure. She lost her grip and the child fell in. The child survived the fall, but was killed by the wild dogs. The authorities investigated and didn't charge the woman as she is presently suing the zoo on wrongful negligence. The zoo has countered in court documents claiming the woman was negligent in placing her child up on the railing. I can attest that I would never place a child up on there for a better look at anything -- and if I had been that woman I would be occupying a jail cell right now on a number of felony charges.
The zoo removed the painted dogs and placed a cheetah in that exhibit. But I digress.
It takes over 2 hours to physically walk through the zoo and see all the exhibits. You can opt to ride in a motorized wheeled chair, much as you would see at your local Walmart, or take a ride on the tour jeep with a guide.
About every 10 to 20 steps was a bench for people to rest, and I would suggest for anyone going there to take advantage of it. We never stopped walking, as by the end of the visit my feet ached terribly and the muscles in my legs burned at every step.
At some instances when seeing an animal in the zoo, you sort of feel sorry for it, such as the polar beer above and the orangutan below. The polar bear seemed like in a trance, as it would pace several steps forward to the edge where it stood and then paced backwards to the sleeping entrance, head swinging obsessively. What type of effect does captivity have on these animals?
The zoo also has an aquarium and reptile house. The overlord enjoyed looking at the fish as we saw everything from blue lobster to giant Pacu that you might see in an episode of River Monsters on the Animal Planet channel.
Will we go there again? Certainly! Will we see all the animals again? Maybe.
There's really no way to navigate the zoo without passing through each area, so it will still be a long walk about. But we will go about it in a more leisurely stroll and take advantage of the rest stops.
And here are a few more photos of our visit.
As for the kangaroos, you can actually go into the closure. If they come up to you, you can pet them. But otherwise you have to stay on the path without taking off your clothes and running about saying, "Suu-wee!"