After reading the profile of the new zoo director in Sacramento Magazine I was curious to check it out. It has been a number of years since my last visit to the Sacramento Zoo. There have been a great many changes. There are fewer animals residents, but they are better housed. I miss the hippo Jewel and since going on a safari in South Africa I have mixed feelings about zoos. And it is best to see the animals in more spacious enclosures.
Besides few people can afford to go on safari and see animals in their natural habitat, and there is something relaxing and fun about watching animals just being animals.
I arrived at the Zoo at about the time of the Giraffe Experience, so I walked directly to the giraffe enclosure and paid $3 extra dollars to feed some leaves to a giraffe and get an up close look at his gorgeous eyelashes and sensitive tongue.
I am tempted to say that if a family saved all the money they would spend at the zoo say twice a year they could afford to go on safari in no time. Except that would be a gross exaggeration. Still I was put off by the cost of everything. The entrance fee is $11.75 per adult and $7.75 for children 2-11 years of age. The train ride and carousel rides are extra. The giraffe experience is extra. The food is ballpark expensive. A family could save money by buying a family membership and sneaking in snacks and drinks. But gone are my memories of an inexpensive day out for young families.
I was enjoying the zoo on a hot July afternoon. Most of the animals are from Australia and Africa, so they were not particularly bothered by the heat. None of the animals were very active. I always feel a little guilty observing the chimps because they are so intelligent. They sat with their backs to the windows and who can blame them.
I found the zookeeper and her young intern at 2:30 and enjoyed a chat. I asked lots of questions. They both love reptiles best and their favorite is the Blue Tree Monitor.
The reptile house is nice and cool. It has not changed since the 1970s when I first entered as an elementary school student on a field trip. I especially looked for the Blue Tree Monitor and could not spy it in its cage. The zookeeper said a remodel of the reptile house is coming soon. I find it so retro it is cool again.
There is a funny sign on the giraffe viewing platform that basically says “finders keepers” to anything that drops into the tortoise’s space below. I heard the tortoises before I saw them—huffing and puffing and enjoying tortoise sex. You never know what you will observe at the zoo.