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.
This video of the mommy and baby Jaguar's is from March 5th 2010, filmed at Mesker Zoo in Evansville, IN. The video does a good job of showing just how close patrons can get to the animals and the ingenuity put into the design of the Jaguar cage.
Complete with concrete foot prints and glass cage, it's truly an experience for adults and kids. I'd also like to mention that it's best to visit the Zoo as early in the morning as possible, it seems that this is the most active time for the animals. On this particular day the Jaguar was even more active, since it was the first warm sunny day of the year.
My family and I ended up going to the Zoo today and it was an exceptionally good trip. Now, we always go several times a year and are proud owners of season passes, but today was something special. We went earlier in the morning than usual and apparently it's true, the animals are more active in the morning.
Amazonia was really a treat, since the monkeys were running all over their exhibit. They managed to play intently the entire time we were there or at least until my 2 year old daughter lost interest. The large pig looking thing in the bottom was also active. It (sorry can't remember what it's called) was swimming, walking around and generally just looking weird. Also in Amazonia were some very colorful ducks that we normally enjoy. However, this trip we had trouble finding them and for good reason. As you walk out the bottom of Amazonia they could be found perched on a limb, much like a bird would. Adorable.
Only a few downsides were that Mesker is remodeling the nocturnal animals exhibit, so it was closed off. Also, the pride and joy of the Amazon exhibit, the Jaguar, was no where to be seen. There were however in it's place some rare zoo workers scrubbing down it's glass walls.
Just like every zoo visit we had to stop long enough at the entrance for my daughter Emma to play in the fountains. Today she was not alone, there were at least 4 kids at any time running through the 4 ft spraying fountains. We shall return at least a few more times this year, but for now my daughter is content and soaking wet.