Capital Zoo The Capital Zoo is in the Albany metro area of New York. This zoo focuses mostly on cold weather species, although there are a few ABC species to keep the visitors happy. I chose this area as there have been discussions about it lacking a zoo. Every effort has been made to house species that are either being bred according to AZA Taxon Advisory Groups or could reasonably be sourced. Wild New York At the entrance to the zoo is an exhibit dedicated to native wildlife of New York. The first two exhibits are of white-tailed deer and black bears. These animals are orphaned wildlife that cannot be released into the wild. The deer are contained in a wooded area with a naturalistic creek flowing through it. Plenty of trees and open areas mimic their natural habitat. The black bears are separated from the white-tailed deer by a system of moats, although it appears the habitat is contiguous. The bears’ habitat contains simulated beehives that often contain enrichment items. Next to the bears’ exhibit is a netted aviary containing non-releasable bald eagles. These birds also have the naturalistic creek and several trees. Across from the Eagles is a similar enclosure for non-releasable red-tailed hawks. Keepers periodically have demonstrations with the birds. Next to the hawk exhibit is small loop with native plants designed to attract butterflies. Bird and squirrel feeders are also present. Signs inform visitors of what they might see. The visitor then enters the indoor portion of Wild New York. The first section contains exhibits where the animals are outside behind glass while the visitors are inside. The first spacious exhibit contains river otters. This is the type of otter exhibit that is often present in zoos. Ample underwater viewing is present as well as viewing on land. The next exhibit, with a similar design is for mink. This one is nearly identical to the otter exhibit with underwater viewing. Adjacent to the mink exhibit is a similarly-designed muskrat exhibit. All of these mimic a stream side Adirondack habitat. The remaining two exhibits on this side of The Adirondacks are forested exhibits containing martens and fishers. Within this exhibit are numerous graphics explaining the history of the region as well as threats. Across the hall are additional exhibits resembling the the forested region. These are behind glass and are designed in a similar indoor/outdoor plan like those previously described. These forested exhibits contain bobcats, gray foxes, snowshoe hares, porcupines, and a small exhibit for long-tailed weasels. A visitor who comes in the summer and winter notes the differences in coat color of the hares and weasels. The visitor then enters an indoor reptile exhibit. This is set up to look like a forested region and contains numerous terrariums. Terrariums housing copperheads, timber rattlesnakes, black rat snakes, eastern hog nose snakes, eastern ribbon snakes, northern fence lizards, five lined skinks, northern coal skinks, eastern tiger salamanders, eastern newts, and eastern hellbenders. In the center are two large ponds. One contains snapping turtles and eastern diamondback terrapins. In another are bog, Blanding’s, eastern mud, and spotted turtles. Natural light comes in through skylights in the exhibit. A door leads into the next exhibit, which contains introduced species to New York. This is a mixed open and woodland exhibit. It contains nutria in a large pond that cannot be approached by visitors. Eurasian collared doves, monk parakeet, cattle egrets, Hungarian partridges, and ringneck pheasants roam freely and can approach the visitor. A terrarium contains Italian wall lizards. This leads to the last indoor portion of the exhibit, the nocturnal one. The entrance contains a riverside exhibit with terrariums containing leopard frogs, American toads, spring peepers, northern cricket frogs, mink frogs, gray tree frogs, and wood frogs. In the center is a large pond containing bullfrogs. A lucky visitor might hear a pleasant chorus. A larger room contains other nocturnal species. In the center is a series of netted aviaries containing great horned owls, barred owls, eastern screech owls, and northern saw-whet owls. These birds are injured and non-releasable. Periodically keepers conduct talks about the birds. Surrounding the aviary is a pond containing beavers and a lodge with a window. Behind glass are exhibits for striped skunks, raccoons, opossums, and flying squirrels. The visitor leaves the nocturnal exhibit for the final enclosure in the Wild New York complex. This exhibit is a netted aviary. In this exhibit are Canada geese, mallards, wood ducks, redhead ducks, blue-winged teals, green-winged teals, canvasback ducks, and mergansers. This may change periodically as these birds are non-releasable birds. This area is set up as an open woodland with a slow moving creek that does not freeze, allowing the birds year round access to water. Ruffed grouse, spruce grouse, and bobwhite quail freely roam this aviary. The Great North The Great North is an area dedicated to species found north of the 45th parallel. Several smaller complexes are present in this and are named according to their geographic area. Cold weather species are the primary focus of this zoo. The Holarctic The Holarctic exhibit sits in the center of the Great North. This sprawling complex is set up in a loop and exhibits species of northern North America and northern Eurasia. Much of it is a mix of forest and open woodland. The loop contains large paddocks for caribou, gray wolves, brown bears, and moose. Each of these exhibits contain ponds. The wolf and bear exhibits are raised slightly to allow the animals to have a vantage point. Next to the moose is a series of smaller enclosures. These contain wolverines and red foxes. All of the paddocks contain ample trees for shade as well as clearings. Netted aviaries house peregrine falcons, golden eagles, and ravens. A small dark building contains netted aviaries for great gray, short-eared, long eared, and barn owls. As is the case with many birds, these are injured and cannot be released in the wild. Periodically, keepers have demonstrations with the birds. After leaving this exhibit, the visitor sees an indoor/outdoor exhibit containing ermines.