The Buffalo Zoo is only about an hour away, but it’s taken us until this summer to take a day trip there with the boys. It was such a great day! The weather was perfect and it was just the activity to keep Sweet Pea engaged, but not participating in the activities he was restricted from after his concussion.
Since this was our first visit to this zoo, I thought I give a little review in case you are in the area and want to know what it is like before going with your kiddos. This is a relatively small zoo, but there was still a lot of walking involved! (And if you are planning to eat lunch in the surrounding park, like we did, the entrance by the parking lot is the closest – and at the time was the only one open! We walked the entire way around the outside of the zoo looking for the entrance!)
At the time we visited, the main gate was undergoing a little construction. It made it a little confusing to enter, but once in we loved it! Buffalo Zoo has different animals than the Seneca Park Zoo, which we most frequently visit. For one, we got to see a gorilla! That alone was pretty cool for us, but hiding in the corner was a baby gorilla! Talk about endearing!
My boys were mesmerized, watching the way the gorilla was eating, using all of his fingers, hunched over. Every once in a while he would give us what my hubby calls ‘the hairy eyeball’, as if to say “I know you are watching, and you’d better watch it!”
The M&T Rainforest Falls building was amazing! It’s like walking into a rainforest, complete with birds flying and perched overhead, crocodiles in the lazy river below your feet. The little monkeys were adorable and looked like they wanted us to take them home! The color of the birds was so incredible, and climbing the stairs to the overlook we were as high as them in the trees.
Getting this close to the animals is great, however, with there being no glass in between us and the animals it means some zoo-goers got to experience the bird waste, which, I was told, was very hot! The on-looker said it was a good thing she wasn’t looking up when it happened! (Just to warn you, not to gross you out! I had never even given that possibility a thought!)
Giraffes were the real reason we headed to The Buffalo Zoo
. ‘Our’ zoo doesn’t have any, and at the time Sweet Pea was totally in to giraffes. These are amazing creatures, with their long legs and necks…we hung around their building a bit, hoping to see them eat, but the boys got restless. Seeing them was definitely a highlight for all of us!
Poor Sweet Pea was a little tired after a full day of walking, reading about the animals and drawing them. (Oh, yeah, did I mention both boys brought their journals so they could draw pictures of the animals they saw in their own habitats? Totally cool from this mom’s perspective!) This was only a couple of days after he suffered his concussion, but was a good option for someone who wasn’t supposed to run and jump.
In this respect, I should tell you about the Dinosaur Dig area – which Cutie Pie was extremely excited about! Kids can enter a small, covered area that is filled with small pebbles, pick an area and, using tools provided, dig for fossils (which were really cement and attached to the ground.) Cutie Pie especially loved this, not because he loves dinosaurs, but also because they were fossils he hadn’t felt before.
We’ve been to a few places
that have this type of interactive play area, and they all seem to let you uncover different sets of fossils. This area of the zoo took us the longest, because both boys enjoyed it so much! It was perfect as it allowed all of us to engage in an activity that allowed us to sit!
This trip to the Buffalo Zoo was a really great day for us as a family. There were a couple of things that could have made our trip better – if the entrance was better marked, and if we came with a few dollar bills as there was a ‘train’ ride and a carousel ride. Of course, on a hot day all the animals smelled, but that’s normal!
If you plan a trip, go ahead and use their website. It’s pretty accurate, and we found it very helpful!
Do you have any tips to make a family trip to the zoo even more fun?