With two family birthdays in July, one on the 19th and another on the 21st, I decided to take the girls to the Milwaukee Public Zoo on the 20th. We planned to head out early, as the weather had been exceedingly hot and the heat was expected to continue for the rest of the week. Preparation was easy. I accessed the Milwaukee Zoo website for their exact address. Second, I accessed a sight called www.maps.com to print out a map and directions. It's so easy. You type in the address of where you are located and the address of where you are heading and it generates a map and easy directions to follow. Isn't technology grand?
Although it was an hour and a half ride from our home to the Milwaukee Zoo, it was a pleasurable one. Once we hit Beloit, the traffic to Milwaukee was sparse on Interstate 43 and so we were traveling at a steady clip, at least until we reached Mukwonago. From there the traffic picked up but was still steady flowing until the detour. The exit I needed to take was closed but I must commend Milwaukee on their easy to follow detour with clear signs posted far enough in advance to easily follow even for an out-of-town visitor.
We entered the zoo and went to our right to visit the aviary. Jolene had recently been to the zoo on a school field trip and cautioned us that the last exhibit we should visit would be the gorillas, as they were exceedingly odorous and we didn't want to walk around smelling bad until the very end.
Canadian geese and flamingos were in the area to our right. We crossed a bridge and as we peered into the water spotted unusually large and colorful Japanese fish. The sign said that some were worth up to $10,000. [Time to breed fish, huh!] We entered the aviary and searched the displays for the birds pictured on the signs. Most of the time we were able to locate them. They were colorful and often strange looking. The birds didn't seem to mind being looked at although they often hid among the foilage.
We visited the fish and aquatic tanks. The small exotic animals were adorable. Bats, snakes, and all sorts of creepy crawlers. Animals from "Down Under" [Australia] including the favorites - kangaroos & koala bears. Caribou, camels, elk, warthogs, and huge turtles. Brown bears, black bears, grizzly bears and of course, polar bears. Lions, tigers, leopards, snow leopards, and panthers. Rhinoceros, elephants, giraffes, hippopotamus. Monkeys, orangutans, spider monkeys, chimpanzees - and everyone's favorite - gorillas. [And yes, they were odorous!]
What is really amazing - is that, even after all the wonderful and exotic animals - and we all loved them, the favorite of my daughters was the little goats. The petting area of the zoo was delightful. They purchased goat pellets [food] and went into the goat pen. About 40 goats of all sizes, colors and ages were let into the pen with the innocent and unsuspecting gathering of children and my two daughters [who are teenagers]. The little goats chased the children around trying to get their share of the food. The more aggressive of the goats would attempt to jump on them to reach the food. Some of the very small children were frightened. My daughters were having a great time.
At $8 a head and $6 to park the car, just walking in the door cost us $30. Another $6 for the Jurassic Park display, $3 for the Sea Lion show, $1 for a plastic gorilla, $2 to feed the goats, $7 to eat and $15 for gasoline meant that our day out cost us nearly $65. Exotic animals, however must be expensive to maintain and the cost aside - we had a great time.
The Milwaukee Public Zoo, 10001 W. Blue Mound Rd, Milwaukee, WI
414-771-3040 For more information visit the Milwaukee Zoo Website.
Have fun in your own backyard!
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