So, Lisa and I were walking in the Australia section of the Des Moines zoo when an animal hopped across the path a few feet away from us. Once we recognized it was a wallaby, we first thought it must have escaped its area. Nope, it was in its area. What?!
Blank Park Zoo lets its wallabies roam freely in the Australia region. It’s pretty cool. You can get within a few feet of these buggers before they take off. The Joeys (babies) are still getting used to being around humans, so they are timid.
Two black swans also roamed the area, but they were not the nicest birds. Apparently, standing within two feet of them may be cause for a warning hiss (not that I would know anything about that).
The zoo is small compared with other regional zoos. But, for a city the size of Des Moines (population of about 203,000 with a metro population of about 600,000), it’s about the right size.
The roaming wallabies are something we haven’t seen at larger zoos. I understand the Columbus, Ohio, zoo does a similar thing with its kangaroos.
Another interesting attraction at the Blank Zoo is the sea lion/harbor seal demonstration show the staff conducts a few times a day. It seems like a show you’d see at Sea World, but the zoo staff makes it clear that it’s a demonstration of their health checks with the creatures. They review motor skills, oral health and then challenges to keep them mentally motivated.
As the sea lion swam in our area, the audience was impressed with its jump straight up to touch a ball a few feet above the water.
We saw a couple of different looking birds we haven’t seen at other zoos. The Kori Bustard looked like large road runners (to me).
The Discovery Center near the entrance combines an aquarium and rain forest. Both attractions are small, but worth checking out. The center can be rented for weddings and parties.
We got a kick out of the kids’ zone’s water feature. Water shoots out the trunk of a plastic elephant, spraying water over the miniature humans. The kids seemed to like it a lot.
As always, if there is a prairie dog, it will catch my attention. The only thing this one did was stand on its hind legs. Yet, I felt the need to watch its every move. A couple of bees did buzz him; yet, he didn’t move.
The zoo offers ostrich and giraffe feeding. We weren’t there during the feeding times. In addition, people can ride camels for a small fee.
The zoo’s layout makes it easy to roam about and take in the exhibits.
This may sound weird (I know, I know), I liked the zoo’s entrance sign. A large sign hangs above the street leading to the zoo, announcing the zoo. Then, as you leave, the zoo thanks you for visiting.
In addition to the exhibits, there is a picnic and playground area outside the zoo.
Blank Park Zoo was a nice way to spend a couple of hours on a cool morning.
For more information on the Blank Park Zoo, please check out its website at www.blankparkzoo.com.