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Maleos, Geladas, and Spray Toads, Oh My! Mid-April Trip Thread

Discussion in 'United States' started by jayjds2, 7 Apr 2017.

  1. jayjds2

    jayjds2 Well-Known Member

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    Props to you if you got the Wizard of Oz reference. If you couldn't tell from the title, I'm finally getting to go to one of America's best zoos this week: the Bronx Zoo! Over the week (my spring break), I'll also be visiting Ohio and West Virginia, as well as other facilities in New York City, and posting reviews, thoughts, and opinions of the facilities I visit here. Without further ado, here's the itinerary (note: it's tentative! If it hasn't happened, it's subject to change!

    Friday, April 7:
    Drive to Columbus, Ohio after school (short day!)

    Saturday, April 8:
    Drive to Cincinnati, Ohio
    Cincinatti Zoo
    Newport Aquarium (time allowing)
    Return to Columbus

    Sunday, April 9:
    Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

    Monday, April 10:
    College tour
    Meet a ZooChatter!
    Drive to Wheeling, West Virginia

    Tuesday, April 11:
    College tour
    Good Zoo*
    Drive home

    Wednesday, April 12:
    Drive to New York, New York
    Staten Island Zoo*
    Explore surroundings- get bearings for the upcoming days of sight-seeing and zoo visiting.

    Thursday, April 13:
    Bronx Zoo*

    Friday, April 14:
    Sightseeing

    Saturday, April 15:
    Bronx Zoo
    Central Park Zoo*

    Sunday, April 16:
    Prospect Park Zoo*
    New York Aquarium*
    Drive home

    *a facility I have not visited before.

    I'm certainly looking forward to the following weeks, which will hopefully include a slew of new species I haven't seen before. Thanks to ZooChatters @ThylacineAlive, @savethelephant, and @AnaheimZoo for helping me plan for New York City! Time allowing, I'll post a day-by-day commentary here. I haven't decided if I'll comment on my sightseeing (it will include things such as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, etc.) but if so it will be brief, unless someone asks for more. I'm leaving in just about two hours and I can't wait!
     
  2. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    A Bronx/Central Park day may be difficult unless you manage to see pretty much everything you want to on your first visit. That said, good luck and have fun! I'd offer to meet you but I won't be making it to the zoo again until the 29th.

    If you can make a list of the birds you see at Central Park please!

    ~Thylo
     
  3. jayjds2

    jayjds2 Well-Known Member

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    Originally I did plan to have two full days at Bronx and Central Park another day, but scheduling restraints meant I had to combine them. How long would a visit to Central Park last? I might rearrange depending on how much I see the first day at Bronx. And I will of course try to take down what bird species I see at Central Park, time allowing.
     
  4. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    Probably only an hour or two. Maybe three depending on how long you spend in the Tropic Zone. Prospect Park and NY Aquarium will be similar. Of course there's then the issue of trying to navigate through NYC traffic :p

    ~Thylo
     
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  5. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    Try to cover Bronx in a day (it's doable), and then instead of trying to get from there to Central Park, combine the CPZ with the (much, much closer) American Museum of Natural History instead. It is magnificent.
     
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  6. savethelephant

    savethelephant Well-Known Member

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    While I would never dissuade someone from visiting the AMNH, as @CGSwans said it's truly magnificent, I think that considering this is Jay's first visit, and the fact how much of an ornithological buff he is combined with the Bronx's collection that doing a one day visit would require probably more rushing than he intends. Of course I cannot speak for him and it's obviously up for him to decide :)
     
  7. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    Oh, if he can't get through what he wants in a day then he should certainly go back to Bronx - though I think to fit in Central Park means he's really only buying another three or four hours. But he should allow himself the flexibility of being able to carve out the time if it becomes available.

    Perhaps another idea would be to wedge Central Park - a place that can really be done in 90 minutes - into the 'sightseeing' day.
     
  8. jayjds2

    jayjds2 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the input/advice. My situation is as @savethelephant says. I will try to do as much as I can without rushing too much the first day, but Bronx's immense bird collection will definitely impede how fast I can go through. I tried to rush through the San Diego Zoo in one day but even then I did not see the entire zoo and did not quite enjoy it as much as I'd hope due to that rushing. I've planned a majority of the Bronx Zoo for the first day and hopefully should only need 3-4 hours the second so I can get to CPZ. Unfortunately my sightseeing day involves two prepurchased and timed entry tickets to the 9/11 Memorial Museum and the Statue of Liberty, so I am unable to schedule any other facilities that day. If time allows I will visit AMNH but unfortunately I don't think it will happen.
     
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  9. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    Fair enough. New York isn't going anywhere before you might be able to return. Trump has too much money invested there to let anything happen to it.
     
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  10. jayjds2

    jayjds2 Well-Known Member

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    This is the only time I'll be able to go within the foreseeable future, unfortunately. Between timing, other commitments (mostly other trips planned) financial constraints (New York is quite expensive to stay in) and simply the fact that everyone in my family except for me seems to hate the city, I'll have to make the most of this visit.
     
  11. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    Except get swallowed by the sea due to climate change :p

    ~Thylo
     
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  12. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    A little divergence here, but does San Diego really take more than a day to see? I've heard it can be done quite easily in one day.

    ~Thylo
     
  13. jayjds2

    jayjds2 Well-Known Member

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    It can be done in one day if you hurry. I took a specific tour (Inside Look: Surprise, which took us to two places behind the scenes with animals as well as with the pandas) which soaked up a little too much time. I practically flew past most exhibits and that was a little too much hurrying for me. Still, I missed Sun Bear Forest (except for the sun bears), Owens Aviary, and Urban Jungle (besides a brief drive-through).
     
  14. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Moderator Staff Member

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    Does SDZ still offer a two day ticket?
     
  15. jayjds2

    jayjds2 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, it looks like it's currently $83.25 a person and can be used at one park twice or both parks once (I did that when I visited). It's $52 for each otherwise, but that price now includes one free bus ride, which it did not when I went.

    Day 0:
    Since all I did was drive yesterday, I don't think I'll count it as the first day. The roads in the mountains were a bit crazy, so I went through Maryland twice, West Virginia three times, and Pennsylvania once before I finally entered Ohio. It was also about twice as cold up there, and it was snowing, but that's to be expected I guess.

    I'm currently on the way to the Cincinnati Zoo. I've been there 3 or 4 times, but haven't been for about 3 years. There's no Sumatran rhino this time, but a few African areas have opened since.
     
  16. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Moderator Staff Member

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    Thank you. Needless to say I am looking forward to following this thread :)
     
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  17. jayjds2

    jayjds2 Well-Known Member

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    Day One:
    Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden:
    I enjoyed this zoo thoroughly, and always have. I was at the zoo for approximately five hours, from 10:00am to 3:00pm. I'll do brief reviews/summaries of each section in the order I visited them. The Gorilla World exhibit is presently closed for expansion, and will reopen in May, and several animals (mostly in Jungle Trails) were off-exhibit due to weather.
    Wildlife Canyon:
    It was disappointing to go along this path and no longer see a Sumatran rhinoceros as the first animal of the day. Instead, its exhibits were taken by a warthog in the first yard, and a capybara/crested screamer mix in the second. It's hopefully for the better, though, that Harapan is now in Sumatra. The other yards have Visayan warty pig, Sichuan takin, Przewalski's horse, domestic bactrian camel, and emu. Each is adequate, if not creative.
    Eagle Eyrie:
    A large pair of flights, with the smaller for Andean condor and the larger for Steller's sea eagle. In my opinion, the condor aviary was too small while that for sea eagles was fantastic.
    Reptile House:
    The oldest American zoo building, its age shows in architecture and general unsuitability of exhibits. The tanks for animals as large as monitors were too small in size, and the Chinese alligator exhibit in the center is rather pitiful as well. A rare snake species (at least one I'd never seen before) was black-tailed cribo. An outdoor yard for Galápagos tortoise was unoccupied today but in warmer weather will hold C. microphyes.
    Monkey Island:
    An outdated rock with a few branches for Japanese macaques. Uninspiring.
    Night Hunters:
    This nocturnal house was fashioned out of the zoo's old cat house. It is still cat-heavy, but includes animals such as aardvarks, bats, and a python. Most exhibits are (as expected from a nocturnal house) a bit small, but the house is decent overall. Species list: spectacled owl, Pallas cat, fossa, vampire bat (probably the nicest exhibit I've seen for the species), clouded leopard, ocelot, binturong,!potto, aardvark, Indian flying fox, Garnett's galago, fishing cat, bobcat, large-spotted genet, banded palm civet, sand cat, black-footed cat, caracal. Outside is an exhibit for Eurasian eagle-owl, currently empty because of construction.
    My less-than-perfect photo of the banded palm civet:
    [​IMG]
    Cat Canyon:
    More cats! It begins with a nice cougar exhibit, and a winding trail leads through two tiger yards (for Malayan and white, which rotate, as I understand it). The last exhibit is for snow leopard; it is nice and rocky, but there are few climbing opportunities.
    World of the Insect:
    I normally skip insect exhibits in zoos, but I needed a bird from the walk-through portion of this exhibit for the passerine challenge. The insect exhibits were for quite a few beetles, as well as a bunch of walking sticks, spiders, and assassin bugs. A few vertebrate exhibits such as black tree monitor and rough green snake were dispersed throughout. The building's last exhibit was a butterfly walk-through which also had spangled cotinga and a pigeon species. I don't know if this building is good or bad, but I suppose I enjoyed it.
    Rough green snake in World of the Insect:
    [​IMG]
    Dragons/Lemur Lookout:
    Dragons is an indoor exhibit home to monitors of various species: Ackie's dwarf monitor, green monitor, quince monitor, crocodile monitor, and Komodo dragon. The exhibits are consistent and don't stand out. An outdoor yard of average quality is for Komodo dragon, while a nearby large exhibit is for ring-tailed lemurs.
    Otto M. Budig Manatee Springs:
    This exhibit begins with a greenhouse-like room, with three exhibits. Large exhibits on either side are for American crocodile and American alligator, while an exhibit you cross over has some species of turtle. The next room has one small tank featuring piranha, several exhibits with snakes, herps, and small fish, and one large tank which features Florida manatees. I like this set of exhibits. Also of interest, a dusky seaside sparrow is displayed (a taxidermied specimen obviously).
    Rhino Reserve:
    Just five of the seven yards were open today. Exhibits for Indian rhinoceros, black rhinoceros, bongo, and okap/yellow-backed duiker are all adequate, but don't stand out. An exhibit for greater flamingos is nice, for the rarest flamingo species still found in captivity in America.
    Siegfred and Roy's White Lion:
    A mediocre exhibit for two white lionesses.
    Lords of the Arctic/Bears:
    Lords of the Arctic shows both polar bears and arctic foxes. The foxes have a nice hillside exhibit, while the bears have a grotto, made smaller by a pool.
    Jungle Trails:
    Good primate exhibits all around, but many were inside because of the cold. The inside accommodations that could be viewed were suitable, nothing special. The aye-ayes were very active, and as always, fun to watch.
    Wings of the World/Free Flight Aviary:
    This bird house has exhibits of varying quality. The first two main exhibits, which are both walk-in aviaries, have South American and Australian/Asian birds. Both are spacious, and provide plenty of height for the species kept within. There were some rarities such as capuchinbird, Bourke's parakeet, and Raggiana bird of paradise.
    [​IMG]
    After a set of wall exhibits (home to thick-billed parrots, African birds, and ducks) a hallway of quite pitiful exhibits is found. Like a strange museum exhibit, and lit from below, three exhibits (home to bishops and canaries, gouldian finches, and an African pygmy falcon) are generally two small for their inhabitants. The building ends with a few seabird exhibits that are nothing to write home about, including a penguin exhibit.
    The outdoor Free Flight Aviary was probably my favorite part of the zoo. It was inhabited by keas, a lifer for me. They made wonderful sounds and were wonderfully colored, and obviously quite intelligent. The aviary was certainly quite enough space for them, and many times they flew back and forth. They clearly enjoyed visitors as well- two flew right up to the window to inspect my camera. It made for some good photos, as well as some funny ones:
    [​IMG]
    Spaulding Children's Zoo:
    This is a mediocre set of exhibits, about half of which is a generic and tired barn area. The interesting points are the nursery, currently home to three adorable Malayan tiger cubs, as well as a binturong. Two pooled exhibits are home to African penguin and little blue penguin.
    Africa:
    This is where most of the new exhibits were since my last visit. Upon entering, a nicely sized savanna exhibit is home to impala, lesser kudu, Thomson's gazelle, crested guineafowl, ostrich, and grey crowned crane, with two vulture species signed but not seen. My only quarrel is that it appears mowed. Next is a meerkat exhibit, with the generic pop-up domes. It's one of the larger exhibits I've seen for meerkats, but doesn't beat Nashville. The final exhibit on this side is for hippos. It was larger than I expected, based off of the reviews on this site, and I suppose it was average. However, from such a new addition I would expect more. On the other side of the savanna is an African lion exhibit, nothing special but quite popular. An empty flamingo exhibit is in front of a large Masai giraffe exhibit, which is where I fed a giraffe for my first time several years ago.
    Swan Lake:
    I'll cover three small areas in this part. A small path near the children's zoo leads to a pair of nice red panda exhibits, with good space and height. I saw a pair in each. A path over part of the lake has two gibbon exhibits, one for siamang and one for buff-cheeked gibbon (unfortunately not seen). They are compact and vertical, a little too small for my taste. A last exhibit, near the zoo's entrance, has red crowned crane, but could be a bit larger.
    Elephant Reserve:
    Two exhibits, too small (but most are). One home to a bull and the other, a pair of females. The female yard was a bit larger.
    P&G Discovery Forest:
    A building with the potential to be a nice walk-through rainforest, but currently with just three animals in mediocre exhibits: two-toed sloth, blue and gold macaw, and boa constrictor.

    I enjoyed this zoo a lot, and will probably return later this year (on the way elsewhere). A common theme is that exhibits could be larger, however most were at least adequate with a few (such as bonobo outdoors- unfortunately empty) that were great.

    Newport Aquarium:
    An aquarium that I've been to a few times before, just 15-20 minutes from the zoo. However, it's a lot worse than I remember, and I was able to finish in an hour and fifteen minutes. Since writing up the zoo took me so long, and I'm actually on the way to my next zoo right now, I won't post an exhibit-by-exhibit review. The collection has declined. No longer are sea jellies displayed, replaced instead with GloFish (genetically engineered) and lionfish. Gator Alley is now deprived of all crocodilians except for the star, Mighty Mike, and two white alligators. This is much better from a husbandry standpoint but I would have preferred the exhibits to be renovated and the various crocodilians still there. I had particularly wanted to see mugger crocodile. Seahorses: Unbridled Fun is the newest exhibit, and it was ok but didn't make good use of available space. I think seven species were displayed, three of which were seahorses. It did, however, have one of my favorite animals: a ribboned pipehorse:
    [​IMG]
    The aquarium failed to impress me as much as it had previously. I had been looking forward to scalloped hammerhead sharks as well, but they didn't do well so they moved to another facility. That's not the aquarium's fault, but was disappointing.

    I'm now just about five minutes from the Columbus Zoo. I can't wait to finally see a Siberian musk deer, and the African leopard cubs just now on display are going to be great as well.
     
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  18. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    the capuchinbirds are quite new to Cincinnati yes? And is the kea walk-through not a walk-through?
     
  19. jayjds2

    jayjds2 Well-Known Member

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    It's new to exhibit but has been at the zoo for a while (there was a pair but one passed away, I think). Apparently it can be walk-through and was opened recently as one (if I read the Cincinnati threads correctly) but on the day I visited it was not.
     
  20. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    kea make great walk-through-aviary-inhabitants.
     
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