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Down Beside Where The Waters Flow...

Discussion in 'United States' started by sooty mangabey, 25 Jun 2018.

  1. sooty mangabey

    sooty mangabey Well-Known Member

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    So, summer is here, and the English school term is near its conclusion (or, at least, it is in sensible schools - there are some which have another month or so to go); as a teacher, this is a fantastic time of year. And thoughts, inevitably, turn to zoo visiting....

    For the past few months I have been planning a trip to a chunk of the "rust belt' of America. I did flirt, a little, with the idea of Texas - as discussed in this thread, here - but in the end settled for a part of the north in which a whole host of, hopefully, good to very good zoos will be seen.

    One drawback: how does one give a song-themed title to a thread primarily based on the zoos of Ohio? I had contemplated Neil Young's "Ohio", but a song detailing the deaths of student protestors seems a little morbid. Rust Never Sleeps - also by Neil Young - had a certain appeal, but.... no. So, in the end I've gone for an old murder ballad about the Ohio River, even if I probably won't go very close at all to said river during the week for which I am away.

     
    Last edited: 26 Jun 2018
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  2. sooty mangabey

    sooty mangabey Well-Known Member

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    This has, of course, been the summer of a genuinely great trip thread from @LaughingDove, and last summer there was an equally brilliant thread from @CGSwans.

    I fear this thread will not come close to either, in its depth or its excitement. However, I am aiming to visit about 10 or 11 zoos - all of which will be new for me, most of which are fairly well-documented on the pages of Zoochat, but some of which aren't. I, at least, am very excited to be heading to America....
     
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  3. sooty mangabey

    sooty mangabey Well-Known Member

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    I'll be spending time in three states:

    Illinois
    • Ranks #35 in the list of "the most heavily-armed states in America" (source: CBS News)
    • Ranks #44 (with 39%) in the list of states that voted for Trump in 2016 (source Wikipedia)
    • Zoo I'm most eagerly anticipating: Lincoln Park
    Indiana
    • Ranks #15 in the list of "the most heavily-armed states in America"
    • Ranks #14 (with 57%) in the list of states that voted for Trump in 2016
    • Zoo I'm most eagerly anticipating: Indianapolis - it's the only one I'm planning on visiting, and even then is dependent on flights arriving on time and car hire being negotiated successfully and swiftly....
    Ohio
    • Ranks #23 in the list of "the most heavily-armed states in America"
    • Ranks #20 (with 52%) in the list of states that voted for Trump in 2016
    • Zoo I'm most eagerly anticipating: the one I'm most expecting to like is Toledo - although this may be absurd....
     
    Last edited: 26 Jun 2018
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  4. sooty mangabey

    sooty mangabey Well-Known Member

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    Six days until departure. Time to try to find details of my ESTA form (not sure what this is, but know it's important). Time to try to read the incredibly detailed Ohio zoos news threads lovingly added to by @TigerValley98. Time to watch one or two of @Moebelle 's excellent videos - but not too many, as I want to see the zoos with my own eyes when I do make it there. Time to start putting together a playlist of suitable road music to listen to as I zoom between Cincinnati and Columbus. Time to wonder whether I should see any other sights, other than zoos (ridiculous idea....).
     
  5. sooty mangabey

    sooty mangabey Well-Known Member

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    Final post - for the time being - up to this point, I've been to 27 US zoos:
    • A handful in the mid-west, nearly 30 years ago (inclusion Henry Doorly, in the week that the Lied Jungle opened)
    • The Boston-New York- Philadelphia-Baltimore-Washington DC stretch - although, again, mostly a long time ago (Baltimore was 1991; I didn't even have a camera to record just how horrible it was) with a return to New York about 10 years ago
    • Nine places in Southern California last summer, discussed on this thread, here
    So, this trip should nudge the US lost up to just shy of 40, and the overall list a little closer to 400 (although it'll take another year, and another big trip, to cross that threshold, I think).
     
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  6. Brum

    Brum Well-Known Member

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    Thoroughly looking forward to this thread, some quality zoo reviews from one of our most eloquent members. :) Any chance of an itinerary, or is it a surprise?

    And I assume that this trip means you're sacrificing the Zoo Nerd meet at Hamerton next week? Must have been a tough call... :p
     
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  7. pachyderm pro

    pachyderm pro Well-Known Member

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    This will be a very fun read, especially so because all three of the major big Illinois zoos will be covered. It's always interesting to see what others have to say about places you have been visiting for years, even more from someone overseas. Before you head off though, here are two last minute tips and advice.

    • You will likely hear contradicting opinions on this but from experience I want to advise that doing Shedd and Lincoln Park in the same day is NOT the way to go. It's certainly possible, but quality of the visit having to rush around most of the place. You would also be forced to do Shedd first, as the lines to get in during the summer are unbearable. I'm not sure how much of an aquatic wildlife fan you are, but Shedd is truly one of the worlds best aquariums, so rushing through it in the hopes to get to Lincoln Park in time isn't how I personally would do it.
    • If you want to bring that zoo tally up a bit, there are another three small zoological parks that are not to far a distance from the bigger three. Cosley Zoo in Wheaton is only 5 acres in size but everything is of above average quality and there is a lot of charm in the place. It is the definition of a community zoo and displays native Illinois animals Phillips Park Zoo in Aurora is free has two large habitats for wolves and elk, but everything else in the zoo is awful and the place is without a shadow of a doubt the worst zoo I have ever visited. Willobrook Wildlife Center is a nature rehabilitation center in Glen Ellyn that contains native birds and mammals. There is a small loop of outdoor exhibits and smaller bird displays and a squirrel rescue center on the inside. Takes less than an hour to get to but worth the drive.

    Anyways, the best of luck to you :). Very eager to see your thoughts and opinions on the zoos of Illinois and Ohio. Simply out of curiosity, what are the reasons behind Lincoln Park and Toledo being the most anticipated places on your trip?
     
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  8. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    Field Museum?
     
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  9. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member

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    The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is basically an indoor zoo and is about a two-minute walk from Lincoln Park Zoo. In fact, I recommenced doing PNNM on the same day as Lincoln Park Zoo, and giving Shedd a whole day.

    However, if you do the Field Museum like CGSWans suggested, that deserves a whole day.
     
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  10. Tim May

    Tim May Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I'd definitely recommend visiting the Field Museum whilst you're in Chicago.

    It's not as impressive as the American Museum of Natural History in New York (but then probably nowhere can match that).

    Nevertheless the Field Museum is a great museum that you shouldn't miss.
     
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  11. TZDugong

    TZDugong Well-Known Member

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    I think the Field Museum is definitely worth going to, it's probably my favourite natural history museum other than the one in New York (although being behind that brilliant museum isn't really a bad thing). I think that it's actually located quite close to the Shedd Aquarium so possibly you could combine the two if you had extra time (I don't really think the Shedd takes a whole day)?
     
  12. mweb08

    mweb08 Well-Known Member

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    I agree that doing both of these on the same day is a good plan.
     
  13. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I wish you the best of luck, my good friend @sooty mangabey ! I'm sure that you will receive a lot of personal enjoyment while typing up this thread, just as you did last summer on your jaunt through sunny California. I know your schedule and I'm excited to read your thoughts concerning some of the better zoos in the United States. We'll continue to keep in touch via email and I'll also make comments on this thread...which I'm positive will be engaging and informative. Last summer you spent 3 entire days, from dawn to dusk, at San Diego Zoo and so I'm sure that you will have long days at the key attractions on this trip. Columbus Zoo staff will have to drag you out by your heels! ;) Crank up the tunes, put on some Springsteen, and enjoy!!!
     
  14. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member

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    Shedd and the Field Museum are right next to each other. But the Field Museum is also a full day attraction.
     
  15. mweb08

    mweb08 Well-Known Member

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    I feel like most people wouldn't spend a full day at either place.

    You could spend a full day at the Field Museum if you basically read and saw everything, but most wouldn't want to do that. I'd include myself in that. I think the best way to experience a museum like that is to key in on a few things that really pique your interest and skim the rest.
     
  16. TZDugong

    TZDugong Well-Known Member

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    I agree with this entirely. If going by this method, the Field Museum could definitely be seen in a half day or less.
     
  17. pachyderm pro

    pachyderm pro Well-Known Member

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    The amount of time you spend at Shedd all depends on how interested you are in aquatic animals. If you only have a slight interest in what’s mostly fish and herps than yes, you could combine Shedd with the field museum and/or Lincoln Park on the same day. Whilst if you posses a larger interest in these species and are committed to IDing as many specimens as possible and seeing everything, Shedd is without a doubt a full day attraction.
     
  18. mweb08

    mweb08 Well-Known Member

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    To be fair, there's very much a happy medium between those sides. I like aquariums a lot and like viewing the vast majority of species/ exhibits in them, but literally can't imagine spending an entire day at one. And I've been to Shedd, Monterey, Baltimore, and Georgia (yesterday actually). But sure, if you're going to ID every species than you're going to be there a lot longer.
     
  19. sooty mangabey

    sooty mangabey Well-Known Member

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    That’s very kind of you. I fear that eloquence may not be so clear when I am zipping through Ohio - I’ll be writing on my phone, and am of an age when to do so is not always something that comes naturally....

    I do have an itinerary in mind, but it is tentative and liable to change - so let’s see how things unfold. However, I don’t think there’ll be any great surprises, of inclusion or omission.

    Genuinely, missing the Hamerton shindig is a real regret - it’s possibly the most interesting zoo in the UK (not the same as the best, by any means) and a day spent with fellow nerds is always to be savoured.....
     
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  20. sooty mangabey

    sooty mangabey Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I think this is sage advice. Who knows when or if I will be back in Chicago again, so I very much want to do both Shedd and Lincoln Park properly - which means a full day at each.

    I think if I had more time, these places might have made the cut. However, I don't want to miss out on seeing, say, Brookfield properly in order to visit a much smaller place which might eb done in 45 minutes. But we'll see! Thank you for the tips!

    I think they both feel - from afar - like quite European zoos, with a real sense of their pasts being present. I love that city centre thing, which Lincoln Park certainly offers; Toledo just seems to be a characterful place - and I very much enjoyed the glimpse of the Bird House seen in the video put together by @Moebelle. Hopefully they will both live up to expectations!