Indy Menagerie


It’s a bit of a departure from my usual topics (though do I really have a set of usual topics?), but we spent a lot of time at the Indianapolis zoo a couple of days ago, and I have to say, I loved it and went crazy with my camera. I’ve gone to the Seattle zoo a fair number of times, but I’ve never been able to get decent photos of the animals. I think they might be introverted.


Not so at the Indy zoo. I felt up close and personal with so many creatures, sometimes it was disconcerting. For example, you can touch dog sharks in the aquarium section:


“Do NOT touch their fins or mouths or you will get bitten!” the booming speakers warned. The penguins were fabulous and though my photos may not be National Geographic contenders, they turned out way better than I expected:

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And I love this shot of the polar bear:


And then there was the other kind of bear that spent a good deal of time sniffing its own excrement, and I had to patiently wait for a picturesque moment:


I tried to coax the meercats to pose in a group, but they ignored me:


The snakes gave me the heebie jeebies, but I was enamored with their textures:


On the other hand, I thought the iguanas were super cool:


Who knew that rhinos were cuddly?


And oh, that baby elephant stole my heart:

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The flamingos were feisty, and this was the first time I was able to look at their eyes up close:

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A swimming turtle! So darling.


The big draw was a new orangutan facility. Check out how high it’s climbing! Apparently, it knows how to make coffee (at least that’s what my nephew swore up and down, but so far I’m coming up empty in my attempts to verify this claim):


But the wildest ones were K and her cousins:


Have you been to the zoo lately? Sometimes I feel sad for the animals, but mostly, I find them fascinating and beautiful (except for the bats. I don’t like bats).


9 thoughts on “Indy Menagerie

  1. Your photos are fabulous! My favorites were of the penguins – they seem to have an ethereal quality to them. And of course the quintessential photo of the backside of kids too eager to stay put and constantly on the run. Love it that K is wearing her tennis dress:)

    1. I was so happy with the way the penguins turned out! They were ideal models 🙂 And yes, that tennis dress has become a favorite and she wears it constantly! Love it when that happens (so rare, so rare…) 🙂

  2. I love going to the zoo, but it really depends on the kind of zoo! The ones near me are pretty great since you can tell they try really hard to do what’s best for the animals (even if it means housing certain favourites or moneymakers elsewhere because they facilities will never be good enough- it’s a very old zoo in the middle of the city so parts are protected as monuments and there’s not that much space for expansion). Learning more about animals is just so much fun.

    1. I agree – learning about the animals is my favorite part, Annette! I was talking with a friend today, and we both agreed that the Seattle zoo keeps the animals too far away, so it often feels like we never get to see them properly. Maybe that’s better for the animals since they get more space, but I dunno…I love seeing them up close.

  3. It seems like you and your family are having a great vacation!
    Zoo is not one of my favorite places (but I wouldn’t say no to an African Safari…) but I love to go to Lisbon’s Oceanarium with my kids!

    1. It was such a lovely vacation! We’re going through withdrawals already and we’ve only been back a day! Lisbon’s Oceanarium sounds fabulous – My dream is to travel around the world with M and K one day, and perhaps we’ll be able to make it there!

  4. Wow, I just had a thought. You HAVE TO get Aliki’s book “My Visit to the Zoo” for K (and really for you, mostly). Her illustrations are amazing, but the book itself is just so lovely. My son (who is now 10) and I read it dozens and dozens of times when he was younger. Check it out, please, and let me know what you think! (I’m not related to Aliki in any way, wish I was, I just really, really think you need to see this book.)


    1. Ooh, I just took a peek and what a great book, filled with awesome illustrations and so much information! My favorite kind of book 🙂 I’m going to have to try to get my hands on one to look at in person — thank you, Loren!

  5. OK, now that I know that you liked the look of the Aliki book, I have a few more to recommend. One is “A Seed is Sleepy” by Dianna Aston and Sylvia Long. They have written a few follow ups with the same look. These are some of the most beautifully illustrated (and sweet) science-y books I’ve ever seen. And also “Zoo-ology” by Joelle Jolivet. This book is also amazing to look at and it’s huge. It really uses the large-format scale beautifully. I feel like both of these books with be right up your alley (and hopeful K will like them, too!).

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