Every year my mother tells the story of the magical time they went to the Cincinnati Zoo on Black Friday and no one else was there. It’s become almost a legend in our house. Last year we tried to replicate the experience, but were met with crowds of strollers and screaming children. We were beginning to think my mom had made the story up. So this year we decided to go in early December on a Sunday afternoon when rain was in the forecast and the Bengals were playing. We hit the jackpot. It was like a zombie apocalypse had hit — not a single fellow zoo-goer in sight. And I held off the rain until 20 minutes before we were to leave because I walked around the entire zoo in my brand new rain boots (not recommended, but at least my sore feet were dry during those last 20 minutes). As promised, here are some photos of some awesome animals, because you can’t go to a zoo and not take photos like you’ve never seen an animal before.
These penguins enjoy hanging around outside the Children’s Zoo, playing in their pond and foliage.
This monkey looks like Zoboomafoo (I’m dating myself, I think), but I don’t know what kind of monkey it is. I do know that I stood there and took too many photos of this mother and baby, which is one of the benefits of having the zoo to yourself — no pushing kids scaring the monkeys away.
These birds have amazing coloring.
I also love this bird’s blue and beak.
This is my brother’s favorite zoo animal — the sand cat. It’s basically a domestic shorthair who lives in the desert.
… or at least it was his favorite zoo animal, until he discovered Gary:
Gary is a stray cat we found wandering outside the Jungle Trail. (“Oh no, one of the bobcats escaped!” an unalarmed zookeeper passing by said, so I guess everyone knows Gary.) My brother named him Gary because he looks like his cat, Mary. As the lone cat lover in the family, he had no problem picking up Gary. Unfortunately Gary had a problem with that, but continued to follow us around for most of our journey through the zoo. The Cincinnati Zoo has more than 500 species and my brother couldn’t stop playing with a stray cat. (And I couldn’t stop photographing him. Please take a moment to admire the above photo I took. It was not easy to get him to stay still.)
Towards the end my rain boots weren’t making it, so I parked myself on a bench while my mom and brother went exploring down a trail. They didn’t see any animals down there, but I saw two pigs on leashes walk by! Sometimes it pays to be lazy, friends.
And then it started to rain, so we went to the giraffe area, where I captured this adorable interaction between mother and baby. The coloring was a little off, so I thought it looked better in black and white. It’s almost like they’re making a heart!
And those are all my zoo photos worth posting. Stay tuned for Part III: Darn you, Pinterest, and your time-consuming Christmas cookies!