With Summer winding down, you and your family are likely looking for a quick and easy day trip to get in some last minute family time. We’re here to suggest the Louisville Zoo. Why? I’m glad you asked.
Kentucky is known for many things. The top three that are almost always listed first are bourbon, horses and basketball. Rightfully so, I suppose, but I want to try to shine a light on the other things that we have to be proud of in our great Commonwealth. Our largest city is Louisville and the beautiful river city hosts our one and only Zoo.
I’ve been to several Zoos, but I will humbly (almost shamefully) admit that Louisville wasn’t one of them, until now. I felt that Capture Kentucky, and myself, owed them a visit. The sole purpose of this article is to, as they say, “see what all the fuss is about.”
On an absolutely gorgeous Saturday in late July, we took the Louisville Zoo exit and were immediately met with construction and a detour. That can sometimes be seen as a bad sign or omen. Thankfully that wasn’t the case in this situation. The detour was clearly marked and was a minor inconvenience at best. So hang in there, good times are literally right around the corner.
We made our way to retrieve our tickets and were met with an extremely friendly and helpful staff. I mention this because this was an ongoing trend and nowadays, a rarity. We encountered several employees throughout the day and each and every one of them took the time to answer any and all questions. We even sat back to see if perhaps it was just us, but every single person that interacted with an employee was met with the same smile and helpful attitude. Color me impressed.
Now before we discuss the exhibits, I want to take a moment to share with you a statement that my wife said. It’s not a usual statement about a zoo, she said, “I’m really surprised that I haven’t smelled any bad animal odors.” That’s a bold statement and an accurate one. The only time there was an odor, was when an elephant did his business right in front of us. Color me doubly impressed.
The Louisville Zoo was incredibly busy on this day, but the exhibits were spread out enough that we never really felt like we were crowded or hurried. We took our time and never got the sense that anyone was annoyed that we were taking our time. Lots of kiddos made for a very fun day. Our son is now grown and attends UofL, so seeing the joy on the little ones faces as they saw a pacing jaguar or an African elephant for the first time was refreshing and really enhanced our trip.
Most of the animals were active on this day, but as mid-day arrived, many animals chose to find some shade or dive into the water to cool off. With that, some kids were a little anxious, even annoyed when they came to see the gorillas and they were sound asleep. So our suggestion is to go as early as possible. You’ll likely be rewarded with cooler temperatures and much more activity.
The exhibits that housed animals were very well taken care of and the path around the grounds were well manicured. There were a few exhibits that we hoped to see, but unfortunately the animals weren’t cooperating. I personally had my heart set on seeing and photographing the polar bear, but animals will be animals. Maybe next year we can make a return visit and catch a few more shows.
Speaking of shows, we watched the “Winged of the World Bird Show” and were in awe of some of the beauty presented onstage. The birds are free and will behave like wild animals, so please heed the rules and stay seated. You will be entertained by two hosts, both of which are knowledgeable and very open to questions. Be sure and stop by and see the show for a very up-close and informative few minutes in the shade.
Some of our favorite exhibits were the bats, the eagles, all of the cats (especially the jaguar, such an incredibly beautiful animal), the elephants, rhino, giraffes, lions and of course the elephants.
My only disappointment at the Zoo is the train ride. Now if you have a young one, they will love it just because it’s a train. But, if you are taking it with expectations of seeing a few animals from better angles like we were, you will be pretty disappointed in what your $5 cost brings you. The train circles the outer perimeter of the Zoo and has two tunnels which are lined with animal paintings. Otherwise, unless the giraffe cooperates by looking over the fence at you, there’s just not much to see. Hopefully there are some improvements because it is a beautiful train, I just feel it isn’t utilized to it’s full potential.
Overall, you will have a very nice day at the Louisville Zoo. There aren’t many hills or steps to tackle, plus there are lots of benches, shows, shade trees, water misters and air-conditioned exhibits to help you fend off the heat.
So load up the family, pack a picnic and head to the Louisville Zoo to cap off your amazing Summer!