Places to Visit,Spend a Couple Hours »Woodland Park Zoo

xzoo601 N 59th St  Seattle, WA

Despite long lines to pay for parking and enter, Woodland Park Zoo was a wonderful way to spend a perfect weather Sunday.

With two young kids, you just can’t see it all in one visit, but we made sure to see “real monkeys playing in the trees” at Van’s request, huge elephants, some otters that took a liking to Mimi, and a of couple napping joeys. We rode the beautiful vintage carousel and took time to feed the colorful birds (a highlight for the kids).

The zoo is as green as you would expect from a lush city like Seattle with lots of shady trees, quiet pathways and a big green yard to just run around.

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Posted on May 5, 2013

Spend a Couple Hours »Mystic Aquarium

55 Coogan Blvd. Mystic, CT

Sorry for our absence but we were on vacation.

Part of the trip took us to the delightful Mystic Aquarium where we spied beluga whales (my favorite), jellyfish, sharks, penguins and poison dart frogs (Van’s favorite – by far).

While admission is pricey, it’s worth it for kids to see animals up close they’d otherwise rarely get a chance to. It’s a clean, pleasant place that doesn’t feel too crowded even when it is and has staff on hand to give information about all the animals.

We skipped the 3D movie but it would likely be fun for older kids.

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Posted on June 26, 2012

Places to Visit »Georgia Aquarium

in Atlanta

Whale sharks, cuddle fish, glowing jellyfish, and other glimpses into a fantastical underwater world – plus champagne! There are far worse places one could celebrate the end of a work year. We had our company dinner at the pride of Atlanta, the humongous (it actually houses a whale – but, sadly, he was out on loan when we were there) and lovely Georgia Aquarium.

After the buffet and raw bar we were able to wander the exhibits which amazed us all. I managed (thanks to my new spiffy camera) to capture many of the interesting creatures we saw in the state-of-the-art facility; I’ve never sipped a martini in front of anything more fascinating.

According to locals, the place can become a madhouse during regular, children-filled hours, but I’d brave a dozen 5th grade class field trips to go back to see the exhibits we missed (sea otters, penguins, and something called the 4D Theater) as well as that famous beluga whale.

Click here for the rest of Georgia Aquarium

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Posted on December 26, 2009

Places to Visit »Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery

trout01660 Route 25A, Cold Spring Harbor, NY

As regular Long Island day trippers, we’ve been meaning to stop by the Cold Spring Harbor Trout Hatchery for some time; but only recently, on an unusually warm Saturday afternoon, did we finally get there. The set up is nice and bucolic with walkways winding around streams and ponds absolutely teeming with trout.

One area is sectioned of for fishing (if you have the inclination), other round ponds are for fish feeding – which is quite delightful (see the video below). Make sure to get a bucket of fish  food with your admission and watch the layers of fish go wild when you throw in a hand full. Little boys were going equally wild just watching.

Also on the grounds are some giant goldfish tanks, an 80 year old giant turtle (too submerged to get a decent photo of) named Tiny, and a terrarium where Jim and I had tons of fun photographing bug eyed frogs and turtles. Also housed inside is a massive taxidermy snapping turtle that had lived at the hatchery until he was stolen (presumably part of a teenage prank), later returned, then died a few weeks later.

Unfortunately, we didn’t notice the aquarium until we were pulling out of the parking lot, but it’s such a short drive that we’ll surely return soon.

Click here for the rest of Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery

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Posted on November 22, 2009

Places to Visit »Manisses Animal Farm

Manisses Animal FarmThere are lots of things you might expect to see while strolling around Block Island: weather beaten wooden beach houses, fields of grass, even an Indian burial ground seems somewhat appropriate?but I truly thought that the three and a half hour walk I'd just taken was making me see things when I caught a glimpse of a huge camel nestled in-between vacation homes.

The Manisses Hotel, one of the best elegant dining options on the island, is also home to an impressive wild animal farm. While some might consider it family only fun for the kids, I spent a long time watching the emus, camel, zorse, geese and goslings, ducks, lemurs, donkeys, llamas, lambs (one provided lots of entertainment when a tree branch stuck to his butt made him freak out), and my most favorite and fascinating, a giant, majestic yak.

The site will make you wonder who was behind it and why, but no worries, there's a plaque to explain:

“As a hobby, I have assembled an unusual collection of animals from many parts of the world. You will notice most of the animals live in complete harmony with each other (this is true). The farm also provides education and enjoyment to all visitors?Justin Abrams”

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Posted on July 13, 2009

Places to Visit »Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Whenever I'm in Colorado Springs, CO, I make a point to visit this extraordinary mountaintop zoo. Imagine a really clean, relatively uncrowded, pleasant smelling, non-depressing zoo. That zoo you just imagined is this zoo!

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Posted on December 5, 2005