Have you ever done that thing where, whenever you travel, you pick a common experience between all your destinations and sort of judge them based on the comparisons? When I was younger and not as adventurous with food, visiting Germany, I judged the different cities by their pretzels. For some reason, now that I’m older I often default to judging places by their zoos.
So here are my top three zoos and zoo experiences.
- Walk in the Wild at Oakland Zoo. This is an food and beverage event with booths scattered throughout the zoo — restaurants, wineries, breweries, and other vendors like Whole Foods and a jerky company I can’t remember the name of. Krave, maybe. The price of the ticket is non-trivial, but can you really put a price on eating sushi while tipsy want watching an elephant play with a red bouncy ball? No. No you can’t.
- The Night Safari in Singapore. The world’s first night zoo! In my last year of college, I was lucky enough to make friends with someone who’s family was temporarily living in Singapore and visit with her over Spring Break. She had one rule: although you must visit the night zoo you must not talk about the night zoo, because that just guarantees it will rain on the night you want to go. Sure enough, it was closed for rain the night we wanted to go. Oops. But we went there on the second try and it was amazing. There’s just something so cool and behind-the-scenes about going to a zoo at night time. It feels more like an adventure. Instead of a butterfly house, they have a bat house! And they sell Singapore Slings.
- Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington DC. I’m pretty sure this is the right zoo. Whichever place I’m thinking of, there was a polar bear who kept getting up on a rock, diving into the pool, squeegeeing his butt against the underwater viewing window, climbing back up onto the rock and doing it all over again. It was doing this when we arrived and still going when we left. Highly entertaining. And overall, this was a very nice zoo. I enjoyed it.
What are your top three?