My favorite animal moments from our yearly zoo walking adventures.

Our yearly zoo pass has expired. We decided not to renew. It’s a nice zoo but there is a lot of construction still going on and it seemed the animals weren’t around a lot because everything was closed or under construction.

I loved all the trees at the zoo. Keeps everything shaded and cool for the summer months. Our city should do more of that. But since we got our new mayor, California girl, seems more trees are being chopped down in our city to build more and more apartments, even our citrus groves, and farm areas are being taken down for apartments.

I would still recommend getting a zoo pass if you move here to Arizona. It’s a great place to just walk and exercise. It’s quiet and even if there aren’t a lot of animals out, usually there are always lots of adorable birds out and cottontail bunnies. The plants everywhere make it a fun walk. Living in a desert environment will do that to you, anything green cheers you up. The staff are super friendly too.

The zoo lets it’s members go in early, an hour before regular zoo hours. It is nice being able to walk around before the zoo is officially opened. So quiet and peaceful. It’s like you have the whole zoo to yourself. You can walk and walk and not see another person anywhere. Come during the busy times and it is elbow to elbow in most spots. Some people wear masks and some don’t but there isn’t really any social distancing going on during the crowded times. When we had our mask mandates the masks always made me feel claustrophobic. I’m happy that the mandates are gone now, giving people the choice to do what they want.

It’s also a good place to have a breakfast or lunch with guests that visit. My husband’s friend from Canada (just became an American citizen this year) enjoyed his visit to the zoo so much that he asked to go back and see the bear the next day. The bear was not out the day of their first visit. The bear is his favorite animal. We all have a favorite.

So here they are, my favorite animal moments and photos from a year of wild walks….

The lion was so friendly when I would stop by for a visit, he seemed very happy and content. He loved getting his photo taken. Every time I was there he would walk up and pose. I have a lot of great shots of the lion.
The giraffe which is my favorite animal was hard to photograph. They have one of the best places to roam around at the zoo and sometimes they were far off in the distance and I had the wrong lens with me for photos like that. I always forgot to bring it along with me.
I loved this little man made pond. In the Spring it was full of tiny little tadpoles with giant eyes. I can’t wait to design a coloring page from that memory.
I visited this toad a lot, he/she was so cute, such a character too. Always looked like it wanted to say something to me.Probably would ask me if there was anything better for me to do then to stare at it.
Okay, this is sad to me. The Orangutans seemed bored. Maybe that’s just how they are. The old exhibit had this really cool giant tree house with all kinds of swings and ropes for them to climb, like Swiss family Robertson. This new exhibit is all Plexiglas and separate little sections of yards and swings in some areas and not in others. The older exhibit was better in my opinion and it seemed the animals enjoyed that more. I wonder why they changed it.
The zebras are always so pretty to me.
Poor little duck, I believe she wants some food from me.
These were the little owls that always had little frozen mice in their mouths. They’re very tiny owls.
Not pigs but I always call them that. I love seeing these little guys in the wild. especially when they have little babies.
Living here in Arizona, I have also seen one of these in the wild. It was up north on the Mongolian Rim where we have Our Little Red House. The ranchers had their calves out roaming with their mamma cows where we saw a mountain lion roaming around near the cattle. This beautiful cat always greeted us with a hello, at least it seems that way in this photo. Very friendly. The story behind her and her sister is that a hunter hurt the mother and there were a litter of her kittens left behind. They donated two of the kittens to our zoo.
I don’t know if this is true but I have heard that in some states there are so many Eagles that the residents can’t stand them. Maybe like pigeons or seagulls in some areas. We have a lot of wild doves here in Arizona but I really love it when they visit my garden.
I know there is a story behind this scar on this wolf but there wasn’t any zoo keeper around for me to ask. This is where zoos are good for animals that are injured and can no longer make it in the wild. Is that what has happened in this case? Poor wolf, that looks like a bad scar.
I love how early in the morning when the sun comes out it makes everything glow a little.

There were a few animals I don’t believe are happy at the zoo, at least they seemed that way. The Rhino either wasn’t feeling well (it was under medical supervision from what the sign said) or it was sad. I don’t know. It was another animal that came close to me when I started taking photos and it stayed near me for the whole time I was there. What a sweet beautiful creature. I hope it is better now. They remind me of dinosaurs.
I love turtles and tortoises. We have a program here in the city where you can adopt a desert tortoise as long as you have the right living conditions for it. Right now there are 300 tortoise that need to be adopted. You need a desert area and place for them to sleep in their corner of the desert yard.
It was always breakfast time when we would visit the Jags.

I never was able to get a good photo of the single Elephant they have at the zoo. We only saw the elephant out a couple times in our yearly pass.

The elephant stays in one area and rocks back and forth and back and forth. The poor thing doesn’t move from it’s spot. just back and forth, Reminds me of those Russian orphanages that had babies that rocked back and forth. Think this was after the Chernobyl event. It made us all want to travel all the way over to Russia to adopt one of those babies, I believe everyone wanted to. Just sad.

I also never saw the otter or the squirrel monkeys that used to be everywhere on monkey island. I did see the alligator but there was no good shot of it so the photo would not have come out looking like anything. If you want to see some cute otters visit the aquarium in Scottsdale.

My favorite parts about the zoo were the beautiful plants everywhere, the little pond with the tadpoles, prairie dogs and the tiny owls. Every morning when we were there, the tiny owls would be eating their tiny mice breakfast. I know that sounds so gross but they seem to enjoy them. The mice were frozen. So it wasn’t messy or gross, just like they were carrying around mouse toys to be enjoyed later.

The zoo has some beautiful gardens and pretty streams everywhere. In the morning the staff are out gardening and feeding the animals. They are always smiling and cheerful. They must love their jobs being around so much life.

So if you have a pass, skip going in the mornings when they eat if that kind of stuff bothers you. Some kids seem to like the natural part of how life works…everyone needs to eat. Oh, and the turkey, I really loved their turkey. He was such a character. I wouldn’t eat him, I’d keep that one as a pet. You know, I also had a pet white mouse when I was a kid, so cute. I tend to do that with our live critters, keep them as pets.

The bear, the Rhino, and the elephant made me a little sad. I believe they need some company. Hopefully when the zoo finishes their huge African exhibit there will be a giant space with all of them out there together, except the bear of course, wrong environment.

I know elephants are a big draw but I would send this elephant to a place where there are other elephants to hang out with and a lot of green plants and space everywhere. Our poor elephant just has dirt to walk around and cement décor everywhere. It’s designed like a giant maze of bars, like an elephant jail with a small outside yard area.

I remember Hazel when I was a little girl, our gorilla had the same type of sad cement area that they put her in. Poor Hazel. We would go to the zoo when we had a field trip day back in the public school I attended, and every time I saw Hazel I would stand there at the bars staring and thinking how sad she was. I didn’t want to leave her area and always had to be called back to the class when the teachers walked away from the exhibit…

“You know…I don’t think Hazel is happy. Her home is really boring and hot…she is not happy” I would say out loud to the teacher as I walked in a line with the other kids. Never liked lines either. Haven’t seen a lot of lines lately, think they gave up on keeping kids in them.

I was a stubborn child. I always had to be careful with speaking out loud, seemed there was always someone around to offend easily, even back then. There were times my mouth got me in trouble back in school. Not from swearing, never did that, but just saying what was true out loud.

Now the zoo has a statue of Hazel the gorilla at their entrance, but I remember seeing her in the flesh and I remember what a terrible home they built for her. The zoo never got a new gorilla after that and secretly this has made me happy over the years. I imagine the gorillas are all together somewhere now hanging under beautiful shady trees with pretty streams of water next to them. It’s better that they are there and not in a cement zoo enclosure with no plants.

If zoos are all about protecting animals because they may not be able to live outside in the wild, then make sure they make their new home as close to wild as possible, which this zoo never did for Hazel. Rest in peace Hazel.

Apparently the zoo never learned from their Hazel experience. Because here I am as an adult now looking off at that elephant and thinking to myself that the elephant needs to go somewhere where it will be happy. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that this elephant is not happy. Oh no, here we go again. I imagine myself speaking out loud to the nice couple standing next to me with a baby in a stroller…

“ Do you think that elephant is happy?” but instead I will walk by shaking my head and grimacing at what I believe is going on, raised eyebrows and frowning as I walk away. Once again my face always gives me away.

I really hope the new African exhibit is a nice one but I still think this Elephant would be happier with it’s own kind. Aren’t they herd animals? Maybe our elephant needs to retire to Florida…do they have an Elephant rescue center out there? Yeah, that’s where I would ship this elephant. I don’t play the lottery but if I did and it was one of those giant jack pot winnings like over a hundred million, and I just happen to win, I would buy this elephant and send it to Florida.

I wonder how much zoo elephants cost. You think you can google that? Okay, I’m off…have to go google something. Nothing wrong with a nice day dream once in awhile. Hope you all enjoyed the photos. My animal encounters now will be whatever I come across out walking in the desert or woods here in Arizona.Happy zoo adventures everyone.

9 Comments Add yours

  1. ourcrossings says:

    A family trip to the zoo is one of the easiest ways to expose your kids to the wide variety of animals that exist on this planet, while also providing valuable teaching moments about conservation and the effects people can have on nature. Thanks for sharing your wonderful photos and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Michele Lee says:

    I haven’t been in a long time! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pure Glory says:

    Wonderful photos of the animals. I am sure you will miss the walking in the shade at the zoo. Have a blessed day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, yes I will miss the shade. In our neighborhood we have a lot of mature trees so we will have to do our walks around the neighborhood now. Mesquite tree in our yard creates a lot of shade too so our house is always shady. I still enjoy the woods up north though. So pretty with those tall pine trees and little streams everywhere. It’s snow and ice now. Had a storm here in Arizona the other day.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Pure Glory says:

        Yes, I understand snow storms. We have one right now dumping snow. Having shade trees in your hot temperatures are so important.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It would be nice if everyone planted trees local to their areas. Snow is so beautiful and peaceful as long as you don’t have to go driving in it. Best watching from a big window with a warm fire going on inside.

        Liked by 1 person

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