Friday, June 17, 2016

Brookfield Zoo

Graham and I have wanted to go camping for months now, but our schedules haven't allowed it. The next best thing we can do is explore a place we haven't been to yet in the Chicago area. Last weekend we took a mini road trip to Brookfield Zoo to check out their grounds. That may sound weird, but Graham works in the turf industry and he's fascinated by anything to do with gardening, outdoors, nature, animals and sports turf. Basically, the Floras are obsessed with flora.

We just didn't quite feel up to it after we heard about the Orlando shooting. After thinking about it for hours, we decided to go anyway to make the most of our one day off together.

It took us about an hour to drive there. The GPS directions were a little off. One second it told us to turn left, and the next it said right, but we discovered that you can just rely on zoo signs once you exit the highway. The reason the directions seemed off was that you park on one side of the street and then take a short little tunnel to the other side, where the zoo entrance (North Gate) was.

I was impressed by the size of the zoo. We spent four and a half hours there and didn't even see everything. You could easily roam the grounds for an entire day. Graham and I quickly discovered we were one of the few couples there without children. We decided to stick with the general admission vs. the tickets that included six additional attractions. We contemplated getting membership because we have a feeling we'll be back soon and with more family members.

I liked that many of the animal enclosures were larger than I've seen at other zoos.  Of course, nothing is as good as what they'd have in the wild, but at least these animals seemed to be able to explore a larger area. The Tropic World habitat was especially impressive.

We witnessed two memorable animals moments: the black rhino sprayed the wall (and he could have sprayed us), which would have been a story to tell, and the pygmy hippo decided to come out of the water and take a No. 2 that cleared the surrounding area immediately. It was fascinating.

We walked around until I couldn't take it anymore. I wore the wrong shoes -- flats -- which was the worst decision I could have made. In my defense, I was not in the best head space when I got ready. We enjoyed the zoo regardless and plan to go back soon.

Have you been to Brookfield Zoo? What did you think?