About a month ago we made our annual (or sometimes twice a year) trip with the nibilngs (and their parents and grandma) to the Detroit Zoo. I really like the Detroit Zoo. It’s easy to get to, just off I-696 in Royal Oak, they have a good diversity of animals (1,800 vertebrates and 5,000 invertebrates representing over 270 species), and they have nice habitats for their animals.
The Arctic Ring of Life is particularly nice, which opened in 2001 and is the largest polar bear exhibit in the entire world! The aquarium is 300,000 gallons and includes a 70 foot underwater tunnel that allows visitors to view the polar bears and seals from below. We usually head to the polar bear exhibit first because it can get a bit crowded later in the day. The kids love the Arctic Ring of Life, especially the seals, which always put on a good show.
Another great exhibit is the Australian Outback Adventure which opened in spring 2006. You get to walk through a 2-acre “Outback” containing red kangaroos and red-necked wallabies. Nothing separates you from the animals and they just hop around wherever they want. I would highly recommend visiting in the middle of winter, the kangaroos (as well as most of other animals, especially the tigers and the red pandas) are much more active. During the summer, most of the animals are just lazing about in the shade.
The highlight of this year’s trip was definitely the baby zebra! it was so cute with its brown stripes following its mother around the enclosure munching grass. In the same habitat, we also saw a peacock family with mother, father, and chick. There are a lot of peacocks at the Detroit Zoo, they pretty much have the run of the place. You’ll see them in habitats, walking down the path, sitting on benches and fences and boy are they loud!
Detroit Zoo Fun Facts
- Barle, an abused circus polar bear, was taken in by the zoo in 2002 and gave birth to a cub, Talini, in 2004.
- In 2005, two Wolverine kits were born at the zoo which is doubly special as wolverines tend to breed poorly in capitivity and the fact that Michgian is the Wolverine State!
- It was the first zoo in the United States to give up its elephants on ethical grounds, thinking that the winters were too harsh and that the winter confinement was too stressful.
- The Horace Rackham Memorial Fountain (pictured above) was created by Corrado Parducci, whose work is also featured at the Guardian, Penobscot, and Fisher buildings in downtown Detroit.
So what are you waiting for? Go visit the Detroit Zoo! I’m already looking forward to next year’s trip with the niblings and perhaps we’ll also go for a chilly, mid-winter visit.