Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Holiday Gift Ideas for Animal Lovers

Thanksgiving is here which means Christmas and New Years is right around the corner. It’s time to shop for something special to give your loved ones, zoo goers, and fellow animal lovers. I’ve listed below some of my favorite zoo and animal related items you could give as a gift, as well as a few things on my wishlist this year as well.

Zoo Toys

LEGO Duplo - My First Zoo: With four cute zoo animals, including a baby elephant, tiger, polar bear and giraffe, there’s always something for the friendly zoo keeper to do, like feeding the animals.

Playmobil 4850 Big City Zoo: A large scale  Zoo. Entrance area with ticket counter and gift shop. Variable blockable enclosures with African animals and lots of accessories.

Zoo Movies

We Bought a Zoo: A heartwarming story about a man who moves his family into a zoo and embarks on a fresh beginning to restore the dilapidated zoo to its former glory, while uniting his family.

Zoo Games

World of Zoo: Available for Ninendo Wii, DS, and PC, World of Zoo is the only life sim game that pushes you past the fences and into a word of your own zoo. Create and customize your zoo experience and develop hands on relationships to earn the trust and love of your animals.

Zoo Tycoon 2: Ultimate Collection: In the same vein as the ultra successful RollerCoaster Tycoon series, the goal in Zoo Tycoon is to create a thriving zoo by building exhibits to accommodate animals and keeping the guests happy.

Zoo Books

Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives: Zoo Story takes readers deep into the inner workings of a place some describe as a sanctuary and others condemn as a prison.

How to Draw Zoo Animals Step by Step: Learn how to draw over 200 animals in 6 easy steps.

Cameras and Equipment for Taking Zoo Pictures

Nikon D3200 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR with 18-55mm: This is the camera I am currently using to take my zoo pictures and video with. The camera is a little heavy but is easy to use and, more importantly, takes great pictures!

Professional PRO 72" Super Strong Tripod With Deluxe Soft Carrying Case For The Nikon: To help take good pictures with my Nikon D3200 I like to use a tripod whenever possible.

Other Ideas
Purchase a season pass to your local zoo or aquarium!

What gifts are you getting your fellow zoo fan for the holidays? Please let me know by commenting below!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo 2012 Review

Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium began this week and so we went out Saturday night to get some pictures and video to share with you. The main attraction is the Animated Light Show which takes place all around Conservation Lake in the middle of the park. The focal point of the show is a giant 24-foot diameter globe floating on the lake. Watch my video embedded below to see the show in its entirety (and more, including the tiger cubs): 

A new addition to Wildlights Columbus Zoo is the Global Celebrations Village. Located in the Asia Quest building, this attraction features animated international carolers that look like dolls taken straight out of Disney's "it's a small world." You can also meet Santa Claus himself (in the Jungle Jack’s Landing area) and his reindeer (in the North America section).

Pictured below is the Columbus Zoo map seasonal Wildlights edition.

seasonal zoo map

One thing to be aware of if you do go to the zoo during Wildlights - don't expect to see a huge number of animals. Some entire areas of the zoo, such as Expedition Congo: African Forest, are completely closed off. The North American section, which you would think would be one of the better areas this time of year, is just too dark to really see any animals very well. The good news is that nearly every region had at least one building you can go into to warm up and see some animals, like Hank, the enormous elephant!

The Columbus Zoo Wild lights run through January 1, 2013. There's no better way to get into the holiday spirit than by seeing the Columbus Zoo Christmas lights!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Columbus Zoo Update 11-10-2012

columbus zoo baby tigers

I went to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium yesterday for the first time since August. A few observations and changes since my last visit:

    beavers at the columbus zoo
  • It looks like they’ve expanded the pathway leading into the North America section (next to the elephant building).
  • I still haven’t seen the otters out in the old black bear enclosure.
  • There was a single beaver occupying the old otter enclosure that I could see (rumored to soon have four beavers). 
  • The tiger cubs were playing outside, the first time I have seen them in person. I shot a short video of the cubs. There is also a short segment at the end with the gibbons. They were so loud yesterday, you could hear them all the way at the other end of the zoo in the Polar Frontier region. Crazy!
  • A large gorilla statue was added to the Expedition Congo: African Forest section outside the entrance to the gorilla building.
  • Safari Africa expansion construction is well under way. Looks like a chain link fence is being erected around the entire site, which is currently nothing but dirt
  • Zoo crews were going gangbusters setting up Christmas lights and decorations for the Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo with opening only a week away! They were also setting up a neat looking “Christmas Around the World” type display in the Asia Quest building complete with figures that looked like they came directly out of Disney’s “it’s a small world” ride.
a sleeping smiling monkey at the zoo

Stay tuned for our future updates as we will cover Wildlights and the ongoing construction of Safari Africa.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Child mauled to death after felling into Pittsburgh zoo African painted dog exhibit

Boy falls into Pittsburgh zoo exhibit, mauled to death by African painted dogs

 African painted dogs, also known as African wild dogs, Cape hunting dogs, spotted dogs, and painted wolves (not hyenas), are found in the open plains and sparse woodlands of sub-Saharan Africa. The long-legged canines have only four toes per foot. There is an African wild dog exhibit at the Wilds.

One of my friends who lives in the area posted this on Facebook today:

"Horrified. To all the many people I know were working today I feel for you having to hear that call over the radio and witness something so tragic. To the zoo your exhibits are unsafe it is not hard to see, this just further proves it. I can't believe this happened. May the little one rest in peace."

I've never been to the Pittsburgh Zoo so I can't comment on the quality or safety of their exhibits.