Blog: Carlita the Croc

Five Things You Should Do at the Zoo!

Maybe you’ve never been to Brookfield Zoo and want to know how to make the most of your visit.  Or maybe you’ve been here more times than you can count and want to discover something new!  Either way, I’ve got you covered with five things to do when you visit the zoo.
 
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1. Ask questions 
 
There are a multitude of people who are there just to answer YOUR questions!  From docents to youth volunteers to professional zoo educators, they can answer any question.  Whether it’s “Where is the nearest bathroom?” or “What is this animal’s niche in its ecosystem?”…they are there for you!

I recommend seeking these folks out and approaching them with anything you are curious about.  In the summertime, almost every exhibit has staff or volunteers there to talk to you about what you are seeing or what you want to do. Talking to these resources will give you a personalized tour of the zoo, and they can also recommend the best times of day, week, or year to experience something you never have before! 
 
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2. Stop and smell the flowers  (Photog)
 
I mean this figuratively and literally.  Brookfield Zoo is a certified arboretum, so there are lots of trees to appreciate, in addition to beautiful landscaping and topiaries that were even featured in this year’s Chicago Flower & Garden show! In the figurative sense, try to make quality the rule of the day, rather than quantity. That is, instead of visiting lots of animals for a little bit of time, spend lots of time visiting just a few animals.  Ever wonder how amateur photographers get such amazing action shots of the animals? It’s because they wait for it.  Want to see an animal do something really cool? Wait for it.  Want to see it show off that natural behavior you’ve been reading about?  Yes…wait and watch! Simply by spending time observing an animal, you can learn so much and get a better understanding of the amazing reasons and ways it does what it does! That’s how the wildlife researchers do it!

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3. Visit Sasquatch
Way over on the west side of the zoo, Sasquatch lurks! 
 
OK, maybe not the real Sasquatch, but a sculpture of one!  That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try and find him!  Especially because once you do, you’ll find a whole other part of the zoo you might not have known about!  Salt Creek Wilderness offers a beautiful, cool, calming nature walk around the man-made lake.  The nature trail is about a 20-minute walk, with plenty of spots for a rest on a bench and a lovely view of Swan Lake – and yes, there is a swan!  It’s a great way to get away from the bustling crowds of the busy summer season and appreciate the beauty that our own local flora and fauna has to offer. 
 
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4. Read the signs 
I’m not recommending this just because my fellow blogger, Zoo Jamie, writes the signs.  I recommend it because they’re there for a reason!  If you are a person who is too shy to do my first recommendation, then you should definitely take advantage of this one.  Signs often answer questions such as “What is it?” and “Where is it from?” But more recently signs are offering information such as, “What is its life like?”, “What are its threats to survival, if any, and how can you help?”, and even, “How do zoos provide extraordinary care?”

But the wonderful thing about signs is that they are designed for people who want to get to the fun part:  seeing the animal!  That means signs are short, to the point, and easy to read. 
 
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5. Catch a free care session 
Everyone loves a zoo chat and the Festival of Flight bird show, but they are only around in the summer!  Some guests come to the Dolphins in Action presentation every time they visit the zoo, but others might be on a budget. 
 
Did you know there is an animal care session that is visible to the public and happens several times a day, every day, year round, and is FREE???  The pinnipeds, or seals and sea lions, get daily hands-on care from their animal care professionals.  These animals are acclimated to the warm and cold, and spend most of their time outside in cold (55 degrees!) water.  Therefore, their care sessions are held outside at Pinniped Point and are available for all to see!  There are usually two to three sessions held at various times throughout the zoo’s public hours – all depending on the animals’ needs.  This is where the wait-and-see method from #2 comes in handy.  Keep in mind, these sessions aren’t a formal-style presentation with an educator or zookeeper present to explain what is happening.  BUT, they are an opportunity to see the close relationship and great amount of care the animal specialists provide to their animals. 
 
So, there you have it!  Five things to try next time, or every time, you visit the zoo.  If you try one of these and discover something amazing, let me know by posting to @candidcroc on Twitter or Instagram!
 

Posted: 6/3/2016 2:16:39 PM by


Carlita the Croc

I'm Carlita the Croc, here to deliver my candid views on various topics, articles, news, and stories in conservation. For the latest news follow me on Twitter, for striking photos follow me on Instagram.

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