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Sunday, July 03, 2005

Oakland Zoo - Toddler tested, Dad approved !

Today we went to the Oakland Zoo. I have been pushing my wife for this trip for at least since the beginning of spring. Many of my friends have told me that this zoo is really kid friendly. My brother in law is visiting us for the long weekend and I got some help from him to make this trip possible.

This zoo is really toddler friendly. Almost everyone walking around had a kid stroller. I have visited many zoo's across the United States but the usual crowd is a mix of animal lovers and conservationists but this zoo presented an unusual number of kids in the under 5 age group. There were plenty of places to absorb the kids interest. They gave us combs to brush the goats ! which my daughter loved.

There were plenty of spaces where you could sit and feed your child, provided she was in the mood to eat. In spite of the portable DVD player blaring out "barney is a dinosaur" our little one gave us a tough time. A lot of distraction can work against you in cases like this.
The cafe had the chairs located in shaded areas so you didnt have to endure the sun. Not to mention the nice settings for the animals and they covered the most important wild ones. They even had a special australian section with wallabys and emus !Almost all the animals looked healthy except for the camels which apparently are healthy but due to the season are shedding their hair (so they looked diseased and my daughter thought they were dying!).

The sky ride was amazing but I could only take my daughter. Pregnant women werent allowed. I guess that makes sense because once you get on this ride you cant get out (you are literally going on top of all the wild animal enclosures) and they were very strict about the rule, which also made sense since I counted at least 8-10 pregnant women walking around the zoo today.

My daughter loved the sky ride. She saw the elephant taking a bath from the top and she couldnt stop talking about it for the next 15 minutes. We also saw the african sand setting with the giraffe's which was really well made.
The Bison herd is also visible on another hill from the sky ride (only way to see them I guess).

We went to take a closer look at the elephants by popular demand and took photographs.

We came down and went on the train. This was another big hit. The only thing was that they charge you separately for the sky ride, train ride and all the other little rides for kids. That would be okay except they accept only cash at the counters and if you dont have cash you are out of luck because the ATM at the gift shop doesnt work. They would only give you cash if you bought stuff for six bucks or more. We were going to buy something to remember the trip anyways, so we got some magnets, finger puppets and the likes to get the cash. On the whole the trip was a big sucess, especially for the toddler.


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