WHAT’S GNU AT THE ZOO?
Well, with the temps about 17 degrees lower than they were last week, I dared to venture outside the AC safety zone. I decided to make my first visit of 2012 to the Zoo. And apparently, so did a lot of other people. Since the magazine article earlier this year about the Wicket City being America’s prime vacation spot for families and cheapskates, our high tourist rate has been getting even higher. So I arrived to find a lot of competition (for a Tuesday) to view all the STL Zoological Garden had to offer. Yes, admission to the Zoo’s 89 acres and all of the city’s museums is FREE TO ALL of the Zoo’s annual 3 million visitors. About half that number are visitors from outside the local area. I should note that food, souvenirs, tickets to ride the Zoo-Line Railroad around the Zoo, The Mary Ann Lee Conservation Carousel, visit the Children’s Zoo or pet the stingrays and sharks do charge a modest fee. So, it’s really a family bargain.
Naturally filled with sundry water fowl …
But the main reason for my visit was to check out the newly redesigned home for the pinnipeds … better known to all of us as sea lions, seals and walruses. Their new habitat known as SEA LION SOUND is a saltwater environment containing nearly 250,000 gallons of water that looks like a northwest Pacific coast line.
It also has an underwater viewing tunnel where visitors can watch the sea lions and seals dive, swim and feed.
OK, I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for pinnipeds. And Sea Lion Sound is great new home and Pinniped Care Center for the Zoo’s water mammals and visitors alike.
After that I headed over to the Lakeside Cafe for a little lunch.
Sometimes the rebel comes out in me when they tell me where I should set my burger down. I also forgot to mention that due to the recent heat wave the Zoo had giant misting fans located throughout the grounds. And that was my trip to the Zoo and I forgot to go check out the wildebeest!