Anyone who knows us or follows this site has to know that Lauren and I are huge animal lovers. No matter how big or small, fluffy or scaly, on land or in water, if we have a chance to go spend some time with critters we’re going to take advantage of it. When we found out that the Maryland Zoo was conveniently located right outside of downtown Baltimore we had to plan a trip! I’m happy to say that we weren’t disappointed. We spent the day going wild at the Maryland Zoo!
When we were invited to the Maryland Zoo, we honestly weren’t sure what to expect. What we found was a small, but very well executed place. What the zoo lacks in size they definitely make up for with high quality exhibits and a friendly and welcoming staff.
When you first arrive at the zoo and make your way through the gate you are greeted by these cute little guys! I always suggest that you get to any zoo or animal park as early as possible to catch them while they are being fed. It takes the cute level up a couple of notches in my book!
Once you get through the front exhibition area of the Maryland Zoo which contains the gift shop, restrooms, offices and the afore mentioned prairie dog, you are faced with a choice. You can either wait and take a tram, or enjoy a 10 minute walk along a paved pathway to get to the rest of the zoo’s exhibits. Lauren and I chose the stroll, and enjoyed the peace of the wooded area. Once we arrived at the main portion of the Zoo, we were greeted by a very pleasant Maryland Zoo employee, their Penguin Ambassador!
The Maryland Zoo, features different animals at the front of the zoo as part of an enrichment and familiarization program. There’s a zoo keper there with the animals to answer any questions that guests have. Lauren and I found it pretty cool that they do that, since it makes the animals more accessible and makes it feel like a much more personal experience. After getting into the exhibit area, we made a bee line to the Polar Bear exhibit.
They can be pretty lazy at times, and we were hoping to catch a glimpse of her finishing off her food. Sadly, when we got to the exhibit she was nowhere to be found…then we saw her playing peek-a-boo with the crowds behind this sculpture.
We then went to the top of the exhibit area to get a better look.
As part of the Arctic Exhibit the Zoo also featured an Arctic Fox, he was about as interested in us as a house cat.
The Zoo features two other large exhibit areas to walk through, the Maryland Wilderness and the African Journey. Considering we were new to the state, we decided to head through the Maryland section first, since I caught wind that there might be a petting zoo at the end.
This area was one that really stood out to me as well executed and pretty interactive. We’ve been to a lot of zoo’s that have a “local wildlife” section that feel more like an add on than an exhibit that they are proud of. This was definitely not the case at the Maryland Zoo. There was lots of information on the whole bay area and the animals were well displayed.
There was also an aviary, and these cool giant sized nests that gave visitors a chance to see exactly what it felt like to be a bird. How’d I do?
At the end of the trail there is a petting zoo for “children”
There are cattle, chickens, and other farm life for kids to see up close and learn about. There’s also a pretty large area dedicated to one of my favorite animals, goats! You can feed them or pick up a brush and give them a rub.
The rest of Africa featured large outdoor enclosures for all the animals that gave us various comfortable angles and viewpoints to watch these animals at play.
Lauren’s favorite enclosure was by far the African Penguin exhibit. We made it in time to catch their mid-day feeding and learn from the zoos local expert. Even though the penguin exhibit was rather large, the Maryland Zoo is actually going through a renovation (opening in 2014) that will result in the penguins being moved to a larger and more prominent area of the zoo.
Overall Lauren and I really enjoyed our time at the Maryland Zoo. Even though it’s not as large or diverse as some of the other zoos we’ve visited, it makes up for the lack of size in quality and charm, after all, it is found in Charm City. If you find yourself in the Baltimore area, the Maryland Zoo is definitely worth at least half a day to explore and enjoy. For more information about the Maryland Zoo, take a look at their official website for hours and admission costs.