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Zoos that are better to visit in the winter?

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by birdsandbats, 11 Dec 2018.

  1. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member

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    Most zoo enthusiasts visit temperate climate zoos in the summer months, for obvious reasons. Are there any temperate climate zoos that you think are better to visit in the winter rather than the summer?

    I personally enjoy my winter visits to the Minnesota Zoo much more than my summer visits.
     
  2. BeakerUK

    BeakerUK Well-Known Member

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    I enjoy a lot of zoos more in the winter as they tend to be quieter (that is more to do with me being a teacher and having to go in the peak summer holidays when everywhere is hell!)
     
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  3. Neva

    Neva Well-Known Member

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    I really like polish zoos in winter when it's snowing. It's nice and atmospheric experience - almost empty zoo, falling snow and animals - more active than in summer or staying in warm houses.

    However, for me a purpose number one (after taking photos of snow/amur/north-chinese leopards on the snow) in visiting zoos in winter are their indoor houses. Every zoo which have terrarium, aquarium, tropical house, birdhouse etc. is interesting for me. In summer they tend to be over-crowded and hard for observations and taking photos. In winter I discovered magic of Wrocław ZOO's Terrarium or Birdhouse in Warsaw.
    Also in Wrocław the whole zoo is so quieter, species which I'm interested in most (carnivores) are usually very active and in sunny days there is good light for photography.
     
  4. zoomaniac

    zoomaniac Well-Known Member

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    Only big aquarias or tropical houses like the ones in Kerzers (Papillorama, CH), Lausanne (Aquatis, CH), Randers (DK) etc. to flee the f....ing cold.

    If(!) areas like Southern Spain, SW USA and the Near East also count to "temperate" zones, then yes, because during sommer months, most animals prefere to lay/sleep somewhere hidden in the shadow or in a burrow.
     
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  5. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member

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    Deifinitely zoos in the Middle East, because summer is too hot to live!

    Besides, huge tropical halls in Arhnem or Zurich are perfect for winter. I joke that somebody should build a house like this for people to live in in the bleak European winter.
     
  6. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    I quite enjoy Bronx during the winter as the indoor exhibits are generally very empty. I remember one visit where I only ran into other visitors maybe 5 times throughout my whole day! It's also cool seeing some of their cold-weather hardy species running around in the snow.

    While I've never been during the winter, I'd imagine Highland Wildlife Park, Mystic Aquarium, and Livingston Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy would all be very nice to see on snowy days.

    ~Thylo
     
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  7. Scottish Wildcat

    Scottish Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Can vouch for the HWP. It's an annual tradition between me and my Dad to drive up there every year around Christmas. The main reserve with its frosty grass and misty hills and herds of bison are exceptionally beautiful if the winter morning sunlight. The tigers, polar bears, and snow leopards are the real standouts this time of year (the Scottish wildcats seem to get a bit duller). The surrounding environment really helps too, whether its snow cover or light frosting, the drive through the Spey valley before or after you leave the park (especially if you like the detour the country roads) is almost as good as the park itself for me
     
  8. Vision

    Vision Well-Known Member

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    Last year I spent three days in Plzen's zoo in February, and I have to say the atmosphere there was definitely one of the best I've experienced. On my third day of visiting, I counted a total of 8 other visitors... There's something truly magical about basically having an entire (huge!) zoo to yourself!

    The animals all seemed to be less shy, you always got unobstructed views of the enclosures and animals, and it just seemed easier to spend a lot more time at an enclosure than you normally would.

    Wild animals, too, were a lot more abundant than my (also very enjoyable!) summer visits; three species of woodpecker, four species of tit, nuthatches, jays, fieldfares, bullfinches etc. all being abundant on the zoo grounds, with even a least weasel running across one of the zoo's paths right in front of me at one point...

    I definitely would still argue the zoo is still better to visit in summer, when birds are all in their "correct" enclosures and fully make use of their aviaries... But a visit in the winter is definitely a unique experience!
     
    Last edited: 12 Dec 2018
  9. Pleistohorse

    Pleistohorse Well-Known Member

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    Mystic is very nice a snowy days.
     
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  10. lintworm

    lintworm Moderator Staff Member

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    Obviously the best zoo to visit in a European winter is Singapore....
     
  11. aardvark250

    aardvark250 Well-Known Member

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    I think it said "temperate climate zoo" but Singapore is definitely better to visit in Winter(If they do have winter)
     
  12. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    Everywhere has winter, it just might not be what you think of.

    ~Thylo
     
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  13. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Moderator Staff Member

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    One of my best ever visits to a zoo was a wet, windy Saturday at Whipsnade. It was the fourth of January, and all the animals (and me) were out and about having a great time. I was the only person at the rhino talk, and the presenter explained that these conditions tend to allow scents to travel much further so predators and prey alike are more likely to be excited.

    A snowy day at Helsinki Zoo in March was also fantastic, and here the small tropical houses were a real boon halfway through the visit.

    @Thylo, as it happens, because Singapore is almost directly on the equator it genuinely doesn't have winter in any form; this is functionally but not literally true of most of the tropics I think.
     
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  14. littleRedPanda

    littleRedPanda Well-Known Member

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    Living where I do, I don't enjoy the winter period as much as spring/autumn. Zoo opening hours are shorter, the light for photography (imho) is generally more difficult and the cold just becomes a pain because of the battle with spectacles and camera gear steaming up.
    Nearby Hamerton and Twycross have little in the way of indoor exhibits of interest to me and are frustrating enough on a pleasant day with regards to photography. Chester and Colchester do have plenty of indoor attractions, but the travel time leads me to question the worth of a trip to either. YWP and Whipsnade obviously have better outdoor photography opportunities, but as I found out earlier this year, heading off on a snowy trip can prove fruitless when they decide to shut within an hour of opening.
     
  15. TinoPup

    TinoPup Well-Known Member

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    What do they close during the winter? I'm planning on going again next month for my birthday, so I can go to the buildings I missed due to all of the kids everywhere making getting around difficult before!

    I love going to zoos in winter, it's so much quieter and the animals seem to be enjoying themselves more. It really depends on the species each place has and what conditions make them keep animals in. I used to go to Toronto Zoo every winter and it was always wonderful (the main animals they seemed to keep in were the native Canadian species, which was odd). I went to Elmwood Park last January and while I didn't get to feed the giraffes, I spent nearly an hour sitting on the ground watching the jaguar cubs playing as their mom supervised the guys working on the roof. I only had 2 people walk by me.

    I would LOVE to go to Mystic on a snowy day!
     
  16. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    The only exhibits that really close are the monorail and Children's Zoo. Obviously there will be certain species in African Plains, Congo Gorilla Forest, and dotted around that won't be outside, but all of the rest of the exhibits remain open year-round with at least some species visible.

    ~Thylo
     
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  17. TinoPup

    TinoPup Well-Known Member

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    Awesome, thanks! I'll be disappointed about both of those but there's less closed than I expected. Do you know when they open the Children's zoo again? I'd really like to spend some time in there without children ;)
     
  18. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    I think the monorail only closes because the tracks ice over, as most of the species there are winter hardy. Can't be helped unfortunately.

    The CZ reopens at the end of March/beginning of April I think. The farm bit remains open year-round, though iirc. If you're tall you can peek into the wild animal bit over the back fence ;)

    ~Thylo
     
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  19. TinoPup

    TinoPup Well-Known Member

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    That makes sense, I didn't get to do the monorail in Dallas because it was too hot for the engines to run. Stupid weather.

    It's the wild bit I want to see ;) Especially the giant anteater LOL. But I guess that makes sense too, with all of the slides and stairs and things to climb on that would ice over and could cause injuries. I'm going to put that on my calendar and hope to fit in another visit. Thanks!
     
  20. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    I've seen the anteater over the back fence many times.

    ~Thylo