Thursday, August 28, 2014

Regarding the San Francisco Zoo . .

Baby Komodo Dragon - New Exhibit!

Many people these days are against zoos, saying they are nothing more than prisons for wild animals. They think there is no reason to keep a wild animal caged when you can view that same animal on a YouTube video or nature documentary. But I don't agree. 

I believe there is nothing that compares to seeing an animal up close and in person, especially for a child. Watching a video about an animal will not excite a child nearly as much as standing before one, watching and listening to it. My children and I visited the zoo many times over the years and I can say with certainty that their love for animals and concern about their future came from these visits. Also, the SF Zoo has worked very hard over the years, to improve the animal habitats and increase the animal's activity level. I have seen that it is paying off. I feel good knowing that my zoo membership is going toward continuous improvements and public education.

Happy to be Visiting the SF Zoo!

Now that I've gotten that lecture out of my system (!) I will blog about the wonderful San Francisco Zoo. You may have read my two previous blogs about the zoo, one called Washed Ashore -  an environmentally-conscious marine sculpture exhibit, and one about the fantastic new playground at the zoo. Now I'd like to share some of my photos that show the main reason for going to the zoo - to see the animals.

A New Baby Western Lowland Gorilla!

She-Grizzly Hunting for Live Fish.

Get Up Close to the Hamerkop in the African Aviary

The Koala Bear is Actually Awake!

Dinosaurs! Hidden in Plain Sight near Eagle Island.

Take a Ride on the Beautiful Dentzel Carousel.

Examining Leaf Insects at the Fascinating Insect Zoo

During the Summer You Can Walk the Nature Trail and Touch Creatures Like This Ball Python.

If you go: Be sure to pack a jacket and wear good walking shoes. The zoo is large and often cold (it IS San Francisco after-all). Pack a lunch and snacks to save money, bring water too as drinking fountains can be hard to find. Directions

Don't forget to visit the Children's ZooI didn't include photos of it but your children, especially young ones, will love it. They can pet, groom and feed friendly goats and sheep; observe prairie dogs and meercats, birds of prey, and so much more.

Take Advantage of the Keeper Talks: you will learn a lot and have fun during these brief talks. Located in various spots throughout the zoo. Check out the calender on the day you visit.

Consider becoming a zoo member: you will get free entry, parking passes and a few ride passes. Also, you will be helping the zoo become better and better.

The Silverback Leader of the Lowland Gorillas.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A New and Fantastic Playground at the San Francisco Zoo

This Summer my children and I visited the San Francisco Zoo. We hadn't been there in several years and were pleasantly surprised at some of the changes. One of the biggest changes was the all-new Elinor Friend Playground. It was, and is, fantastic.

The playground is accessible to special needs children.

 The playground is located next to the entrance of the Children's Zoo. It is 36,000 square feet and consists of three bio-regions. The first one is a river play area for toddlers.
River Play Area
The second bio-region is a polar area for preschoolers; although I don't know why they put an age limit on it, it's definitely good for older kids too.

The Polar "Bio-Region."

The last bio-region is a banyan tree climbing structure that is absolutely fantastic. It is designed with older kids in mind.

The Banyan Tree Play Area

There is so much to see at the San Francisco Zoo. My last blog featured the Washed Ashore Art Exhibit and my next blog will be about the zoo itself.

If you go: the cheapest way to go to the San Francisco Zoo is to purchase a yearly membership - a family membership is $115.  San Francisco residents can get a small discount on the non-member entrance fee, but other than that, you have to pay full price. These days tickets cost $17 for adults and $11 for children.  Click here to see the complete information on tickets.

But whatever you pay, if you stay all day, you will definitely get your money's worth and maybe, even have time to work in a nap. .

Monday, August 4, 2014

An Incredible Art Exhibit at the San Francisco Zoo!

"Washed Ashore" is located in the old Pachyderm building at the SF Zoo.

The San Francisco Zoo is hosting a temporary art exhibit called Washed Ashore, which features huge marine sculptures made from trash, washed up from the ocean. These sculptures are incredible. The kids and I would walk up to each one and say something like, Wow! Look at this one, it's beautiful! Then we'd look closer and say, Gross! realizing that we were viewing actual pieces of trash found in our oceans and on our beaches. I believe our reaction was exactly what the artist intended, amazement at the beautiful art that can be created with our positive, resourceful energy, and disgust at the pollution caused by our negative, uncreative energy.

Sea Lion Pup - note the shoe soles, pieces of rubber, leather, etc.

The art and exhibit was the brainchild of Angela Haseltine Pozzi, an experienced artist, teacher, lecturer, and consultant, who "came to the ocean to heal, but found an ocean that needed healing."
She created Washed Ashore for the purpose of "educating and creating awareness about marine debris and plastic pollution through art."

Giant Sea Jelly made from plastic bottles, etc.

Whale Rib Bones

 The Washed Ashore project has several traveling exhibits that feature art, created by community members, from thousands of pounds of trash removed from local beaches. We're lucky because Washed Ashore also added an exclusive exhibit to the SF Zoo show called, Buoy, Beat ‘n Bop, a "unique presentation of musical sculptures" made from ocean debris. The kids and I had a great time playing all the different instruments!

Make music by blowing air over or into the bottle openings.

Ringing the bells with a Tube Worm Tickler!

Styrofoam Drum Set!
 If you go: Washed Ashore will be at the SF Zoo until Sept 21, 2014, from 11AM to 4PM. The musical pieces are hands on, so encourage your kids to try them. Take time to read the signs too, they are worth it. Also, remember  what Mark Twain said about San Francisco - "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."  In other words, bring a jacket!
Don't miss Washed Ashore - you'll love it!