Yay! Kat and I went to the Zoo today! I had a great time, mostly because of the company. Let me break down our trip to the zoo for you, both the good and the bad.
Admission: We actually had free tickets to the zoo because of a work related event. So. score one for us! But, if we had to pay it would have been 11 bucks each. Thats a little more than I would like to pay, but I guess that is a good deal compared to other things around. BTW, Houston Zoo offers many free admission days throughout the year. Good for them!
Parking: Another score for us here. Parking at the zoo is free! It is hard to find free parking for things this day in age. I was very pleased to see that the zoo did not charge.
The Weather: One reason Kat and I chose to go today was because we wanted to go before it got to far into summer weather. It turned out to be a semi-nice day. Yes, it was hot and bright today, but there were several shady areas in the zoo, and God also provided cloud cover from time to time. So, overall, I can't complain. Kat and were also sure to put on sunblock before out trip. I strongly recommend it.
People/Crowds: Ahhh, crowds. Another thing Kat and wanted to avoid by going earlier on in the summer. We knew that most schools get out for summer sometime in the next few weeks, and we wanted to avoid the large family crowds. There were a few small children groups there, but nothing too overwhelming. (Although, some of those kids were a little wild, and needed some home training.) For the most part, the zoo seemed kind of empty (not complaining here). There were a few times I felt as if Kat and I were the only ones in the park. (and then that led to thoughts of what to do with zoo animals in case of the zombie apocalypse. Long story) So, no crowds=good!
The Animals: I was fairly pleased with the variety of animals our zoo has to offer. There were the typical lions, tigers, and bears, but there were also zebras, exotic snakes, lots of different birds, and meerkats! I would be pleased if the zoo were to add more animals that we are not use to seeing at most family attractions.
As far as the animal watching went, I was a little let down. The most active animals were probably the birds, a few of the monkeys, and the red panda. As far as the larger animals went,(with the exception of the elephants and giraffes) we were lucky if we even saw them. Some were is the very back corner of their pens. The tiger, the lions, the bears and even the hoofed animals were just lying around. Now, I understand that it was the heat of the day, and they were probably tired, but it was still a little disappointing.
The Park: I found the zoo easy to navigate, and a good size too. But, a good majority of it was under construction. Some attractions were shutdown, as well as whole parts of the zoo. The zoo is adding a dinosaur exhibit this summer, so that was part of it, but it went beyond that. Kat and I often saw empty pens with no animals, and grass and weeds overtaking it. "Temporarily Closed" was a not uncommon sign most of the day. As far as those pens that were occupied by creatures, some of them could use a facelift. I mentioned to Kat that I thought some of the animals' areas looked sad and barren. Some color goes a long way.
Conclusion: I think you get what you pay for. Once the construction is out of the way, and the appropriate animals are returned to their empty cages, it will make for a great family outing. Parking is free, (and so is admission on certain holidays) so check the weather, grab the family and head on out to the Houston Zoo!