I was fortunate enough to take some time to “escape” the city and explore both Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and the San Diego Zoo. I have found that by just picking a small section and spending time there, it can actually be quite relaxing. And for my conservation buffs, both of these zoos do a fairly solid job with research and conservation efforts, and often partner with each other.
Many of the African birds are found in my favorite aviary in the San Diego Zoo at the Africa Rocks Woodland Aviary. I love just standing around in there and listening to all of the birds going crazy making nests. If I wait in there for any length of time, birds will zip right past my head. On the upper level of the aviary, I am able to observe the White-Fronted Bee-Eaters enjoying a meal. They will fly back and forth past me and are quite vocal.
And then there is the classic Owens Aviary, which has birds from Asia and India. This Spotted Laughing Thrush (pictured below) popped out of the bushes and bounced across my path at the last minute. He was quite fast and didn’t fly or run, but hopped. I am glad I decided to stand there for a while to see what birds would appear.
Of course, no trip to the zoo in the springtime can be complete without babies! I discovered some of these darling baby ducks at the San Diego Zoo, and interestingly enough, they weren’t much different from the baby geese at the Omaha Zoo (see below). When I happened upon the mother duck, she had just finished fighting off other ducks. The male goose was just as protective, and definitely did not like strollers or people on scooters getting too close. He was running after people and hissing.
Along my route at the San Diego Zoo this time, I was able to watch the three gorilla brothers. The one pictured below is fifteen and just entering into adulthood. He is patiently waiting for the zookeeper to toss his fruit and veggies over from the balcony above. The brothers know when it’s time to eat and when it’s time to nap.
I always take time to enjoy the flowers and botanical gardens within the zoo. I find that stopping to admire the foliage around the old zoos can be just as peaceful and relaxing as any other garden area.
I cannot wait for my next adventure at the zoo, and maybe, after the pandemic, I can look forward to seeing some of these animals and plants out in the wild.