Last full day in Cleveland, and I thought I’d spend it at the zoo …………BTW, be proud of your Indians, Cleveland.
I really like zoos. You get to see some crazy animals and learn a little. Plus all that walking is great exercise.
Several people told me I HAD to go to the Cleveland Zoo while I was visiting. One lady told me to keep my whole day free because I’d end up being there the whole day. I laughed and shook my head, but little did I know, she was right. She must be a mom.
Anyways, my day was already starting out late because I drank too much the night before and slept through my alarms (story of my undergrad). After hydrating myself, I made my way to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, which is just outside of downtown Cleveland. Let me just say that you can and probably will spend all day here. Wear good shoes. Or charge up the Hoveround, whatever your mode of transport may be.
I started off at the elephant habitat just in time to catch the crossing at 11:15. And by crossing, I mean watching an elephant through a very high fence, with slats so close together you can barely make out his silhouette. The kid next to me kept asking his dad where the elephant was. “Right in front of your face, son.” Now, I get that it’s for safety reasons, but I hardly feel like it’s as much of a spectacle as the announcement makes it out to be. I thought it was better to bypass the crossing and just wait for the elephant to show up on the other side of the habitat. But that’s my own opinion. The handlers who stayed around the area to ensure the elephant made it safely to the other side were really friendly and were eager to answer questions.
To the left of the elephant habitat is the “Australian Adventure” section. There’s a small train that circles around this exhibit, and it seems like it was designed to mimic Australian architecture (I don’t really know as my travels have not yet taken me to that part of the world). Besides some birds, a koala who did not want to cooperate with me, and a bunch of ‘bys and ‘roos, I didn’t find much here.
The deckwalk was closed, which eliminated my shortcut to the “Primate, Cat, & Aquatics” habitats. I felt incredibly lazy (and still slightly hungover), so I opted for the tram. I would recommend it, because the people walking up the hill looked super miserable as I passed them on the tram. “Primate, Cat, & Aquatics” translates to gorillas and monkeys, wildcats, and aquariums. It’s also a nice place to hide from the rain. The monkeys are pretty cute, but I did catch one digging into his butt. Just like a human.
Lunchtime. In case you’re wondering, they do have a McDonald’s and a Pizza Hut on site in addition to the regular zoo delicacies. If you’d like the feed lunch to an animal, you can buy lettuce at the giraffe habitat and feed it to them by hand. No I didn’t do it. I needed to feed myself.
One thing I would recommend checking out is the Sarah Allison Steffee Center for Zoological Medicine. I skimmed most of the information, but this seems to be the place where the zoo animals go when they’re not feeling so hot or if they’re fresh off the boat. This building has surgical suites with windows for public viewing, and I get the impression you may be able to witness an animal surgery, but I’m not sure, and there was nothing going on during my visit. Still, there’s lots of information about how zoo animals are cared for, various research projects sponsored by the zoo, and an exhibit about how much the zoo animals eat. SPOILER ALERT: A lot.
One place I recommend visiting is the rainforest habitat, which is housed in a building on the other side of the main zoo ticket counters. Even though there are numerous displays, my favorite part was the orangutan habitat. The orangutans are really cute, and there was a little baby playing around on my visit there. The baby orangutan caught sight of a human child playing with his toy car near the window, so the baby orangutan came to investigate, and the two played cars (kinda) through the window. Precious, right? On the contrary, I was greeted by an adult orangutan on my side of the window, who proudly stood tall in front of the glass, and then proceeded to urinate on himself (herself?). Still loved these animals.
After spending my day at the zoo, it wasn’t quite 17:00, so I decided to try visiting the West Side Market, which had listed business hours on Sundays from 12:00-18:00. I don’t know who is open at the West Side Market until 18:00, but I got there at 17:00 and found most of the stands were either in the process of closing up shop or already closed. I did find a couple of produce stands still open, but nothing I could take on a plane with me and have it last that long. Oh well, take two will be up later in the week.
Thanks for reading. Here’s a picture of a giraffe.