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Your most memorable animal interaction -petting zoos and touch pools

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by chrisbarela, 15 Feb 2014.

  1. chrisbarela

    chrisbarela Well-Known Member

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    One of the most impactful experiences a guest can have at a zoo, museum, or aquarium is getting to interact directly with animals - especially for a young child. I've found that, animal touching or feeding exhibits are not only one of the most popular areas but also the area that guests will usually spend the most time at.
    I'd like to know what your most memorable animal interaction exhibit was. Especially if it was a petting zoo or touch pool style experience.

    Here are/were some of my favorites:
    San Diego Zoo - for the longest time the Children's Zoo had an echinda in a small exhibit that you could reach right into and pet.

    Long Beach Aquarium - Getting to touch large (and small) sharks - especially nurse and zebra sharks

    Toba Aquarium Japan - sticking my hands in an tank of Garra rufa (Dr. Fish)
     
  2. Mikezoo12

    Mikezoo12 Well-Known Member

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    I have held an anaconda, pet stingrays, pet bamboo sharks, and dove with sand tiger sharks.
     
  3. SmallestGiraffe

    SmallestGiraffe Well-Known Member

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    Although it is not the most popular on here i really enjoy the animal experiences that South Lakes Wild Animal Park offers, particularly with the giraffes as its great to get so close to them and be able to feed them etc.

    Also, Selwo Aventura Estepona has a fantastic safari ride through which not only allows you to get really close to the animals you can feed rhinos (although this involves throwing them food), zebras, hippo and giraffes.
     
  4. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Well-Known Member

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    My father-in-law, a distinguished gentleman, likes zoos and aquariums but doesn't get overtly excited by them usually. At the Aquarium of the Pacific he touched a ray in the ray pool and was jumping up and down with the excitement of a six year old.

    Another memorable experience was seeing my friend's eight-month-old touch a goat at the Los Angeles Zoo contact area and giggle with delight.

    When I was five years old my parents took me to Happy Hollow Zoo in San Jose. I felt someone tap me on the back and turned around to find that it was their baby African elephant. This was back in the 1970s when it was still acceptable to have baby elephants in petting zoos.
     
  5. tschandler71

    tschandler71 Well-Known Member

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    Petting White Rhino is an interesting experience.
     
  6. OrangePerson

    OrangePerson Well-Known Member

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    Funny you should say that, we went to a behind the scenes thing at Colchester. They took us in the rhino house and the little baby at the time was letting people pet him but Otto the male came and stuck his head out to be petted, I loved the fact he wanted to join in!
     
  7. SmallestGiraffe

    SmallestGiraffe Well-Known Member

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    As far as VIP zoo experience's go, me and my other half met the orangutans at Dudley Zoo which was amazing. I was allowed to meet one of the males who is usually not included in the experience and he was amazed by my tattoo. Amazing experience!
     
  8. tschandler71

    tschandler71 Well-Known Member

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    From my limited experience male white rhino's like human contact more.
     
  9. TheMightyOrca

    TheMightyOrca Well-Known Member

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    I love giraffe feeding. It's cool to be able to get so close to such a big, exotic animal. I got to do it at the Houston Zoo, and the San Antonio Zoo is building a giraffe exhibit with a feeding platform. I live in San Antonio (and I'm attempting to get a job at the zoo, ha ha) so I'm looking forward to that. They're the biggest animals I've had the chance to interact directly with.

    Speaking of San Antonio, I feed the lorikeets every time I go. I know it's not nearly as interesting as getting to interact with sharks and rhinos, but I still enjoy it. I want to get a pet bird someday, but for now, this is the only way I get to interact with them. They're friendly and cute little guys. Except whenever my dad goes, the birds love him so much and it's not fair! I have a photo where he has a bird on each hand, one on each shoulder, and one on his head! And that kind of stuff happens like, every time he goes. I can usually only get one to sit on me. :(

    I went to the dolphin enclosure (where you feed them) in SeaWorld San Antonio. I don't know if I'd call it good; they were kept in a pool I feel was a little shallow, and it was completely blank. Not interesting to look at. But I did have a memorable experience there: some people were standing on the feeding side of the pool despite not having any food, and the staff member repeatedly told them not to stand there. The dolphins eventually got fed up and formed a straight line, turned around, and splashed the group with their tails. It was REALLY funny. Really established to me how smart dolphins are, and how they can apparently communicate with each other to coordinate revenge attacks.
     
  10. lintworm

    lintworm Moderator Staff Member

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    Petting a white rhino is indeed fun, they really seem to like it.

    My favourite though is petting a giant anteater behind the scenes in Dortmund, especially hteir tongue is very funny :p
     
  11. arcticwolf

    arcticwolf Well-Known Member

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    When I went to the camp at the Toronto Zoo I was allowed to pet a Vancouver Island marmot which is one of the most endangered mammals in North America.
     
  12. dean

    dean Well-Known Member

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    I stroked a white rhino at Knowsley once as a child, A Hippo in Antwerp zoo, a Malayan tapirs muzzle in artis zoo Amsterdam a lot of ring tail lemurs at South lakes wild animal park, I was mobbed! and A baby tiger at Blackpool, It got out of the then nursery area as the keeper came out after feeding them, every one recoiled as it came through the door, I leapt forward I was about 14 at the time.
    An amathystene python at azoo in Kuranda Queensland, also A shingle lizard back, I was asked to hold them so the keeper was free to point out features about them.
     
  13. lamna

    lamna Well-Known Member

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    I have very old memories of feeding Flossie and Flora at Dudley Zoo. I don't think it was allowed but I think that's my oldest memory of any animal.

    More recently I remember when you used to to be able to touch the lemurs at Dudley. Partly because it was so much fun and partly because I put my hand in lemur leavings immediately afterwards.

    Also at Dudley are Jill the Raven and Arie the Howler Monkey. Both of them always come down to say hello and I always spend a long time at their exhibits.
    Arie likes to swing down and get a better look at me, sticking his tongue out and generally clowning around.
    Jill likes to push sticks though the fence so I'll push them back in. I'm not sure if she's playing "Fetch" or just trying to trick me so she can peck my fingers.

    Another very old memory is of feeding the Giraffes at WMSP. I have to agree that they really leave an impression on you. Or perhaps it was the bananas scented saliva I was drenched in. Fun fact, giraffe dribble is a moisturiser.
     
  14. blospz

    blospz Well-Known Member

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    * Feeding a white rhino and giraffe.
    * Holding a Virginia opossum.
    * Petting a tamandua.
    * Touching a beluga.
     
  15. Brum

    Brum Well-Known Member

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    Giraffe and rhino, meh! The other three are making me extremely jealous though...:D:p
     
  16. Gulo gulo

    Gulo gulo Well-Known Member

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    - Harapan
    - Polar Bear (anesthetized & euthanized. routine medical check-up & saying goodbye)
    - Komodo Dragon (Adults, juvenile and week-old hatchling)
    - Black Caiman (Female)
    - African Slender-Snouted Crocodile (male and female)
    - Tomistoma (Female)
    - American Alligator (Adults, juvies and hatchies)
    - Chinese Alligator (Adults)
    - Indian Rhino (Female)
    - Black Rhino (Male)
    - Snow Leopard (Cubs)
    - Melanistic Leopard (Adults)
    - Coyote (Pups)
    - Wolverine (Kits)
    - Other experiences. This is enough for now. :)
     
  17. azcheetah2

    azcheetah2 Well-Known Member

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    I have several...getting to rub the inner ear flap of an Okapi. Playing 'chase' with a Siberian tiger (she was on one side of the fence, me on the other) and having her chuff at me. interacting with a young orca at Sea World California. I didn't get to touch her but we definitely interacted. That used to be my favorite, but now I think it was interacting with the tiger.
     
  18. Daktari JG

    Daktari JG Well-Known Member

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    For a number of years, years ago the St Louis Zoo had a walrus named Siegfried.
    It was a smallish undistinguished exhibit but the pool was close enough to the railing that he would lift himself out of the water and you could pet his whiskery muzzle- and he seemed to enjoy it as well as he constantly accommodated throngs of people
    myself among them.
     
  19. TheMightyOrca

    TheMightyOrca Well-Known Member

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    Interacting with the tiger like that sounds so cool! I had something similar with a river otter that took interest in me and swam around in front of the glass for a while.
     
  20. chrisbarela

    chrisbarela Well-Known Member

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    Has anyone ever seen an animal interaction exhibit that was more like a petting zoo or touch pool? I'm trying to come up with an animal that is sturdy enough to withstand guests and also harmless enough that it can't harm kids.
    For instance - there is a local farm that has a "guinea pig corral" where kids can go in and sit with the guinea pigs and feed them carrots. Parents bring their kids here and kill an hour. Hugely popular.
    I'm looking to see if any one has experienced something similar with more exotic animals - either fish, mammal or reptile. Not where a keeper brings the animal to the guest but where the guest can just walk up and spend as long as they want with the animal. Like a tide pool/touch pool at aquariums or petting zoo...
    In recent years these kind of touch experiences have become popular:
    - Moon Jellies
    - Small Sharks
    - Rays
    - Horseshoe Crabs
    - Butterfly walk thru
    - Spider Walk thru
    - Cockatiel/parakeet/lori aviary

    Anyone seen anything that was really unique that fits this category?