Visit: Maryland Zoo {Baltimore}

by Cate on June 12, 2013

Jun 9, 2013

~Beware~ Upcoming picture overload. Just can’t help it.

Sometime last year, I was searching for day trip ideas (and, namely, to find places that we could drive to that had dolphins), and I happened upon a site that mentioned that you could hand feed the giraffe at the Maryland Zoo.

And I quickly made a note of that. (I have a note on my phone saved with “kids activities,” so I always have a running list of adventures we can partake in)

I loved the idea of hand feeding the giraffe, because that’s something that we can’t do at any of the zoos we’ve visited so far.

And then I found out you could also ride camels while there.

And groom the goats.

Jun 9, 2013

Jun 9, 2013

It was a veritable gold mine of bucket list items!

And then, a few months back, there was a Groupon for a Baltimore hotel.

And that’s when it all fell into place.

{more on the hotel coming later}

The zoo was our main purpose for visiting Baltimore.

That and the fact that none of us had ever been, making it a fun little weekend jaunt that wouldn’t break the bank.

The zoo is open from 10 to 4, and we pulled into the parking lot at 9:45 am, snagging a parking space in the very first row. The grounds are beautifully maintained, right down to the parking lot.

I do believe this is the second least expensive zoo we have visited so far, costing under $40 for the three of us to visit (no AAA discounts, by the way, but they do give military discounts).

There are two major sections to explore at the zoo, but we made a beeline for the giraffe area first, to make sure we didn’t run out of time. There is a free tram that will take you from the main gate to the African Journey section where the giraffes are.

Jun 9, 2013

The giraffes aren’t, of course, the only animals in that section, and once the tram dropped us off, we passed by vultures, a leopard, a cheetah, a warthog and more. At the giraffe feeding station, you can buy browse for $2 a piece to hand feed them. Because the zoo had just opened, there was no one in line, and it was perfect timing. And it also meant I could juggle two iPhones and a camera to capture the perfect pictures. I will tell you, though, that the giraffes eat the browse in the blink of an eye, so make sure you’re ready to take the picture. There were two giraffes there, both girls, one was in her mid-teens and the other was two years old.

Jun 9, 2013

Jun 9, 2013

Adorable.

Jun 9, 2013

Memorable.

Pure awesomeness, and definitely worth it.

MZ - giraffe-001
If you look carefully, you can see its tongue outstretched all the way to the piece of browse that Nick is holding. Crazylong tongue.

Bucket list item: check.

MZ - elephant-001

MZ - edu-001

Once we were done there, we checked out the rest of the animals in that section, and started slowly making our way over to the Wilderness section. Along the way, we stopped for the carousel ride and face painting.

MZ - carousel-001

MZ - rhino-001

Jun 9, 2013

Once in the Wilderness section, there were more animals to see, including bats, snakes, and turtles, but I was focused on one thing: getting to the zoo’s farmland area. Because there, we could groom goats.

And, you know, it’s not every day you get to groom goats.

MZ - madeline brushing goat-001

A staff member lets you into the large pen where there are about 10 goats of varying colors and ages wandering around. There is a bucket filled with brushes and you can go to town. This was the kids’ second favorite part of the zoo, and they loved the direct access they had with the goats. Gorgeous coloring on so many of them.

Goat grooming: check.

Jun 9, 2013

MZ - the goat whisperer-001

MZ - talking goat-001

Jun 9, 2013

I could spend all day taking pictures of the goats. It probably sounds weird, but their coloring, right up to their eyeballs, is just beautiful.

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MZ - brown and white goat-001

MZ - black goat-001

I think I’m going to blow one of those pictures up for Madeline’s room.

Camel ride: check.

Jun 9, 2013

Jun 9, 2013

There is also this huge aviary that you can walk through, where all the birds are roaming free. Or, well, as free as they can go up to the high netting.
MZ - aviary-001

Throughout the zoo, there are staff members (“Ambassadors”) with animals, waiting to tell visitors all about them. We got up close and personal with a California King Snake (which eats rattlesnakes, by the way), a Lion Head Rabbit, and a Chinchilla. Every staff member we encountered was friendly, knowledgeable, and went out of their way to tell us everything they knew. Which was awesome. You could tell they definitely loved their jobs.

Jun 9, 2013

MZ - drawbridge-001

There are many food stands and picnic areas throughout the zoo, and many shaded areas to keep you out of direct sun on a hot day. The habitats for the animals are really well done, and remind me a lot of the Philadelphia Zoo. There were caves to explore (complete with snake exhibits and stalactites), and even a giant slide in a tree. The grounds are just gorgeous and the varying types of exhibits provides a lot of different types of interaction and activities for the kids.

MZ - stalactites-001

MZ - signage-001

MZ - tree slide

MZ - in a birds nest-001

We ended up doing the zoo in about four hours, which was perfect, with, of course, a stop at the gift shop on the way out.

Because one can apparently never have too many stuffed animals or snow globes.

We definitely recommend a trip to visit the zoo, with the highlights, of course, being feeding the giraffes, brushing the goats, and riding the camels. It was such a treat to see how much fun the kids were having, and it was truly a perfect Sunday afternoon.

The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore
1876 Mansion House Drive
Baltimore, MD 21217
Main Phone: 443-552-5245
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Hungry for more zoo visits?
The Philadelphia Zoo was a highlight last year, and worth a visit.
The Cape May County Park & Zoo is a favorite when we head down the shore (and free!).
The Turtle Back Zoo is local and one we visit annually.

A few bonus photos…
Jun 9, 2013
We totally scored in our pressed penny collecting this weekend. I think we ended up getting five or six total from all our different stops.

Jun 9, 2013
Recycling containers were all over the zoo. Love that.

Jun 9, 2013
There are fun hand washing stations everywhere, which was awesome. Especially after feeding giraffes and brushing goats.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Joanne June 13, 2013 at 6:22 am

wow now THAT sounds like an amazing zoo! I’m still a bit in awe and shock that you guys got to feed GIRAFFES of all things!
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Cate O'Malley June 14, 2013 at 8:36 am

It was a pretty awesome zoo, well worth the visit.
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debbie June 13, 2013 at 6:34 am

Looks like a great zoo. I’d never even heard of it before. We are not too far from there so I’d love to go. I’ve been to the DC zoo many times. You might want to try that one. Very nice.
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Cate O'Malley June 14, 2013 at 8:37 am

Surprised you haven’t heard of it before! We haven’t made it to the DC zoo yet, but have heard good things about it, and have a friend that lives nearby, so it’s definitely on our list.
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BArbara June 16, 2013 at 2:32 pm

I am so glad that you enjoyed the MZiB (Maryland Zoo in Baltimore). I have volunteered there for 10 years, and I can tell you that everyone who works there does loves their jobs.

I am in the chimp forest 2 days a week. I tell everyone that I am so lucky to get to go to Africa twice a week.

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Cate O'Malley June 17, 2013 at 9:28 am

What a great volunteer opportunity – so awesome to see that the staff loves being there as much as we love visiting.
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