Introduction Years ago, when I was still in high-school, a couple of my friends managed to get onto my home computer. In several swift strokes they typed different letters one by one replacing the other into my address bar. They were trying to uncover what websites I had been visiting. I was perturbed by this intrusion, but before I could stop them the results were popping up. Each letter typed into the address bar gave a different North American zoo website address: Audubon Nature Institute for a; San Diego Zoo for s; and Denver Zoo for d. My friends were shocked and kept on typing different letters. H for Houston Zoo, j for Jacksonville Zoo, k for Kansas City Zoo. A zoo website address popped up for almost every letter typed into the address bar. I tried downplaying it, but I couldn’t fool anyone. I was obsessed about zoos and my friends knew it. Before the age of six I had seen the San Diego Zoo and Busch Gardens. For the rest of my adolescence though the only AZA facility I got to visit was the regional Calgary Zoo. My family didn’t travel far. I dreamed about seeing some of my favorite American zoos, but I would have to settle for visiting their websites and reading about them in The Zoo Book by Allen Nyhuis. When I was a University student I saw a handful of AZA aquariums, and when I moved out east I finally got to visit the Toronto Zoo and became a member. On a family trip to central Florida I visited Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Since then, I’ve also visited some great zoos outside of North America. Zoos were important parts of those trips, but they had never been the primary driver of my travel itinerary. This April (2018), that changed when I organized a 17-day solo trip through the Western US. My goal was to see some of the American zoos that I’ve been dreaming about visiting for so many years. I ended up visiting a total of 10 AZA accredited zoos (including the Calgary Zoo), 1 AZA aquarium, 4 gardens, a natural history museum, and several natural sites. I have done some long-distance work as a zoo designer and visiting my employer was also a significant part of my plans. I do not have a personal vehicle and decided to use a combination of alternative travel means for this trip. To get between cities I mostly used Greyhound bus services. Three flights covered longer stretches between cities. I used public transportation in all 11 metropolises I visited and sometimes walked long distances within cities to reach my destinations. It was a bit of an adventure, so my posts will also recount my travels to each destination as well as my experiences at those destinations. There will be 17 posts covering roughly one day each for all 17 days of the trip, plus one post for the final travel leg home, and one other post to cover a trip shortly thereafter to the Calgary Zoo. I will not reveal my full itinerary until after I post about the last day because I leave a bit of flexibility in my travel plans, and well, it would be more difficult to reach some of my destinations than I imagined.