Lions, tigers, bears, and over 3000 other animals call the Milwaukee County Zoo home. It’s crazy to think how much time I have spent in this Zoo over the years - it’s even crazier to remember that I hadn’t been there for at least 10 years!
My Aunt used to take me to the Milwaukee County Zoo very frequently. We would spend all day exploring. Every minute was scheduled, every step and every turn was planned – that’s how I recollect. It’s not to say it was a march or military drill, but my Aunt knew where to be, at what time, for how long, and somehow this would match your expected level of satisfaction. Always entertained.
The open-air concept of many of the exhibits makes this a great place for photography. The fewer fences and glass you have to shoot through, the better. At the Milwaukee Zoo, you have bear next to elk, and tigers next camels, and you in-between, just separated by a ravine. Not to mention, it’s always fun to see the animals going outside their suggested boundaries.
Some of these animals seem to get joy out of entertaining people. It’s like, on cue, every so many minutes, some animals will go from sleeping in a corner, to putting on a show. What inspired this lion to wake up from his nap, walk over to the glass, and proceed to roar at the crowd? It’s like Alex in Madagascar!
It would be ignorant of me to say that the Milwaukee County Zoo hasn’t changed. It has changed dramatically: the additions, expansions, new animals, eateries, entrances… That said, enough of the Zoo is the same that the nostalgia is overwhelming. The heart of the Zoo, and the passion of the keepers has not changed.
The Zoo has capitalized on eateries and sitting areas. Everywhere you turn there is a nice place to relax, enjoy a meal, buy a Coke, watch some animals…all at the same time! If your one of those normal people that don’t want to pay $5 for a pretzel, you can still bring your cooler and have a picnic lunch.
I was delighted to see the construction for the $25 million “Adventure Africa” exhibit. At the same time, the wolf and moose exhibit have been eliminated to make room. They have lots of ideas on the docket, hopefully bringing the wolves and moose back is one.
Recently completed was the new parking lot and north-west entrance. It’s also the new home of the otters! Complete with a log slide, lots of rocks and plants, and a massive underwater viewing area for us to watch them play around in.
Small things in life can make or break an experience. One of the measurements I yield whilst visiting places with lots of people is civility. It’s amazing how ludicrously rude people can become in certain situations. I was pleased to experience the Milwaukee Zoo with much human decency. Even when people; young and old, crowded around to see these puffs of fur, they were polite, considerate of others around them, and pleasant to be around.
A red panda was born on June 6th this year, and was just introduced to the public on the 13th of September. A fellow photographer asked me if I had seen the baby – I didn’t even know it existed! I made it my mission to capture a few moments. If you think red pandas are cute, this baby was so full of energy and bravery, no obstacle could stand in her way…but she had quite a few close calls.
Photography requires a lot of patience. Going to the Zoo is a good way to practice your patience, and it’s a lot more forgiving when you miss a shot, because it’s much more likely to present itself again – unlike the wild. I could have probably just sat for an hour and watched one of these animals, capturing them at the right moment. Getting the perfect shot.
I spent about 4.5 hours at the Zoo, and probably only saw half of the exhibits. Rushed through some, spent lots of time at others. The sun was being precarious, making it a bit more challenging for photography. I could easily spend the day here and hope to do so soon.
The reason this Zoo means so much to me is because the same Aunt who brought me to this Zoo so many times, is the same person who introduced me to photography. Bought me film, had it developed for me, handed down old equipment and cameras… There is no way I would be enjoying this hobby today if it weren’t for her.
Alrighty 'nuff said.