A Visit to Utah’s Hogle Zoo

Mommy Crusader Being a Mommy, Birthday ideas, Family Fun, Vacations 2 Comments


My oldest turned ten over the weekend. That’s amazing to me. Like any mother, I feel like she’s only been here a few years. She loves animals, dinosaurs, art, and grandma & grandpa. She declared her birthday the best day ever. What did we do to get such rave reviews? We went to Utah’s Hogle Zoo with grandma & grandpa.

Normally, it would have been a year for a friend birthday party (we alternate family/friend birthday parties every other year). But, I decided to add “an experience” into the mix. The experience takes the place of the birthday party, and usually costs a lot less than hosting a party.

Opening presents is a lot more fun at the zoo, and if they are covered in zoo wrapping paper.

Anyway, we went to the zoo and spent the day learning about amazing animals and being with grandma and grandpa.

“We’re having a staring contest,” said my kids. I think my third grader won. The animal wanted to eat more alfalfa.

Hogle Zoo is a really well planned zoo.

I’m not sure what this bird is, but my fifth grader said it was a flamingo.

It isn’t as large as the San Diego Zoo, but it still has a large variety of animals – all kept in naturalistic enclosures.

A fantastic male lion checking out the crowd.

There’s enough to see that it takes the whole day, and then some, to see it. As the afternoon wore on, we found ourselves rushing so that we could get to every exhibit.

Aside from animal exhibits, the zoo has a couple of parks where children can play. One of these is a splash park, which is a smart idea. Hogle Zoo is in Salt Lake City, in the foothills, and the sun can still be intense into September.

“Hold on while I open this lion’s mouth and take a drink,” said my first grader when we were at the zoo.

Also, there are misting attachments around many of the exhibits to cool visitors, and awesome lion drinking fountains throughout the park.  We had to get pictures using those fountains.

One of my favorite parts of our experience was watching the orangutan mother and her baby interacting with the trainer.

The mother and baby Orangutans, playing with the trainer. She was supposed to place the green toy in front of her face. She got it on her arm and on top of her head, too.

The mother rolled over, found the right shaped toy, found the right colored toy, and was asked to do many other things that were just fun to watch. The baby also mimicked some of what the mother did.

Currently, the Hogle Zoo is hosting a different kind of exhibit, and my kids absolutely loved it. Scattered throughout the park are dinosaur exhibits. We saw triceratops, carnotaurs, velociraptors, and many others.

The first animatronic dinosaur exhibit. My children all roared back when this carnotarus roared.

Granted, these animals weren’t living, but the animatronic sculptures were quite fascinating to watch. They were very realistic in their behaviors. It appeared that they were even tracking and interacting with the guests – but maybe they were just really well programed.

The beautiful and loving hands of my mother helping my toddler pet a boa constrictor, being held by an animal expert at the zoo. Thank you mom.

Also, the zoo does a great job of having animal experts available to the visitors to answer questions and explain behaviors. I asked one animal expert why the leopard in Asia exhibit was pacing back and forth in front of the viewing glass.

She explained that he was pacing to mark his territory with his sent. Cats have scent glands on the bottom of their feet, and the more they pace and walk, the more of that scent is left on the ground.

My first grader and a leopard checking each other out.

Hoogle Zoo is a great place to go with the family for a fun and educational experience.  Thank you grandma & grandpa for a great birthday experience. Admissions to the zoo cost $14.95 for adults, $10.95 for children 3 to 12, and free for children less than 3. For more information, check out their website at www.hoglezoo.org.


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