While in NOLA this October, we decided to try and see some things that we hadn’t in the last few trips. One was the aquarium and zoo. Family membership was at $160, and with 6 of us, it would’ve cost $140 to enter either one by themselves. So we opted for the membership and went to both at a discount.
The aquarium is mostly indoors, and was done pretty well. The majority was focused on local wetland wildlife, with a few of the favorites also added in, such as sharks and upside down jellyfish. If I had had to pay full price for this alone, I would’ve skipped. Good aquarium, but worth over a hundred for us to enter? No. Not really.
We then walked around the corner to the insectarium. Note: it is, for some reason, inside a Federal building. So if you happen to have a sailor in your group who happens to carry a Spiderco knife with him at all times, you will not be allowed to go in. No, they don’t have a bag check where you can leave it up at the front with the police man. No, they don’t enjoy you asking if you can check it with him. And yes, he thinks we should outlaw ALL blades. I almost commented that he looked as though he enjoyed food, and that preparation of said food would be impossible without knives, but I held my tongue as I’m sure he was viewing us as scoundrels who are dragging their poor children into the gutter…..imagine, someone carrying a knife! GASP! (I’m just glad Gabe no longer carries a wrench around….although it WAS handy quite a few times.)
The zoo was larger than I thought it would be. I guess they remodeled it (well, they are remodeling it), and tried to emulate the San Diego zoo. Wide variety of animals. And a lot of them were pretty active. We got to see the spider monkeys go ape (hehehe) over fruit during feeding time. There were lots of teenagers there who volunteered and tried to answer our questions about the different animals. To their credit, they DID know some stuff. But we’ve learned a lot about animals in general, and we’ve been to a lot of zoos, so our questions aren’t typically the 101 variety. Luckily, there were also quite a few full time employees who were very gracious about answering questions and elaborating. Finally, they have a dinosaur exhibit. It costs members an additional $2/each to go through. But they have mechanical models that are staged in different “landscapes” as you walk through. They move. They make noise. Some spit. Fun!
San Antonio Zoo
Membership for a family, which includes 2 adults and up to 8 children or grandchildren is $70. Because we also did Zoo Boo, and got a break on the cost for being members, the price for just going in the one time VS getting the membership was within $2 of each other. This is the membership of many zoos and aquariums throughout the US, and so we could, within the next week, head down to the Houston Zoo and get in for free.
The zoo itself isn’t very large. It is a bit hilly, but not too bad. It has adequate shade trees. I had read a review that stated there were NO trees or shade. Well, there were plenty of mature trees and we didn’t spend that much time in the sun at all. Even though the zoo wasn’t very large, they managed to put quite a bit in it, and I felt they were very smart about creating spaces in a way to let you get very close to the animals. For example, we were only a few inches worth of glass away from hippos being fed from a trainer that was standing directly above us on a ledge. So we got to see them very close and see how they act and eat and what their mouths look like. There was a komodo dragon that was within inches of us as well. There were some flightless bird exhibits where the birds came very close. They had some bird feed stands where you could put in a quarter and get some food. So when we went to check out the ducks or swans, they came up really close. In fact, Corbin reached out to see if he could touch a swan and the swan jumped up and bit his hand because they are so used to being hand fed. Unfortunately I was checking my camera settings and didn’t get a pic. I begged him to stick his hand out again but for some reason, he was opposed to being bitten by a swan again. Go figure.
Also, when we went during the day, the animals were VERY active! This made the zoo trip take longer than it would’ve normally just because we stayed to watch each animal for so long. The bear came out and posed for awhile, up close, the snakes came to the front of their exhibits and danced for us, the lizards were climbing over each other at the front of the cage, the monkeys were either swinging, or checking us out by standing or hanging right in front of the glass that we were looking through, and they seemed to really get energized whenever we’d show up. They’d be sitting around and we’d come up and within a few seconds, they were all jumping all over the place. Even the alligators and the anteaters came to check us out!
We went home at about 5 and came back at 8 for Zoo Boo, which is trick or treating at the zoo. I was a bit frustrated that we were “so late” because it started at 6:30. But we’d spent more time at the zoo during the day than I thought we would. You go in and there’s a map that shows all the locations of different games and trick or treat stations. All games are meant to just give you a prize. And the trick or treat stations are tables set up with a local business who’s handing out candy, and often times, a business card/coupon/etc. Needless to say, we have TONS of Imperial Sugar hard candies! When we first got there, the stations were giving out one or two pieces of candy a person. However, as it got closer to closing at 9:30, they started giving out more and more candy. The last few stations we hit at 9 gave each of our kids at least 2 handfuls of candy! They also had some that gave our stickers and temporary tattoos. I think all in all, we ended up leaving with about 20# of candy between the four kids! And that was our SECOND time trick or treating!