I visited Mesker Zoo in October, just not during a Boo at the Zoo Halloween event. It was more pleasant without the crowds and we still got to enjoy the frightful amenities.
I've attended Boo at the Zoo, Mesker Park Zoo's annual Halloween event, every year for the past 6 years. However, this year it just wasn't in the cards, but that didn't stop us from visiting the animals in October. I'd recommend everyone who lives near Evansville to enjoy Mesker Park Zoo and Botanical Gardens. My daughter and I explored the zoo a few weeks ago, let me tell you what we saw.
Mesker has a new featured animal, their first Komodo Dragon. This large lizard exhibit can be found in the the upstairs of the Hippo/Rhino building, where birds used to be displayed. This remodeled exhibit gives the lizard plenty of space to live and plenty of frontage for people to look. The opposite side of the room has also been remodeled, giving a number of different snakes new homes.
Review of the 2012 Boo at the Zoo and improvements I think need to be made to maintain a quality annual event.
The 2012 Mesker Park Boo at the Zoo was, as usual, a treat for my 5 year old daughter. However, as a parent reviewing a local Zoo event, I was a little less than impressed. Lack of animals, treats, and interaction round out my disappointment for 2012. It would appear that the annual event has been in decline since the relaunch, when Amazonia first appeared.
The first year of Boo at the Zoo, when Amazonia first opened, I thought was the peak of the event. Visitors were met with countless hands on interactions with animals and Mesker staff. While waiting in the enormous line, Zoo employees were walking around with bunny rabbits and other small animals for kids to pet. Throughout the trail, scattered around the Zoo, were also countless animal interactions.
We attended the final night for the Evansville Mesker Park Zoo's annual Boo at the Zoo. It was amazing! The last time we were able to attend was in the fall of 2007 and the difference was remarkable. We waited in line for about 45 minutes but it was well worth it.
Each year the zoo hosts this very fun trick-or-treating event after normal operating hours. Admission was $6 a person or $5 for zoo members. There are stops along a marked route for kids to trick-or-treat at booths representing businesses and organizations from the community. We followed the main zoo route and were led through a couple of the animal buildings including the Amazonia exhibit. The entire zoo was decorated with pumpkins, Halloween yard blow ups and decorations. Every employee and volunteer was also in costume. One of the many highlights of the evening were the zoo keepers who held creepy animals for visitors to pet. My 2 year old daughter pet large snakes, rats, scorpions and even an alligator! We used lots of hand sanitizer!
The zoo was so beautiful at night. We were there for a little over 2 hours and the lines were even longer as we left. My only complaint is the lack of traffic guards. We had to park pretty far away, like everyone else because of the large crowds and it was very hard to cross the busy street safely. We had such a fun family night that I know we will make attending Boo at the Zoo part of our Halloween traditions.