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Utah's Hogle Zoo: Fun and educational experiences abound for young and old alike

By Heather L. Tuttle

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, June 17 2013 6:26 p.m. MDT

Erica, Jeff and I headed over to the giraffes where one of the Animal Encounters was scheduled to begin. We were allowed into the small enclosure where patrons can pay $40-$49 to feed the giraffes on Wednesdays and Saturdays. I was a few feet away from these beautiful creatures. Jeff was directly under the female adult’s head at one point and it was awesome! After the feeding, we thanked Erica and headed out on our own to photograph other animals. Here’s where my zoo tips come in.

Tip one: if you are unfamiliar with the grounds, grab a map at the entrance gate. Once my personal tour guide left, I quickly missed the trail to where I wanted to go.

Tip two: Don’t be afraid to ask questions. There are numerous, friendly volunteers and staff on the grounds who are happy to help or tell you interesting facts. For instance, did you know that giraffes can run 30 to 35 mph?

Jeff and I had a blast. We were mesmerized by the polar bear swimming and pushing itself off the rocks to float on its back. You are so close you can see movement of its fur in the water.

The ring-tailed lemurs were about to be fed just as we were about to leave the primate building. We stayed and watched them leaping about, grabbing chunks of fruit that had been scattered about the enclosure.

Even the orangutan chilling in his tree made us smile. I think we were as entertained by the animals as any 5-year-old running about.

I learned a lot during the two hours I spent at the zoo, such as two hours isn’t enough time to see everything. But here’s the best thing I learned: Going to the zoo is great therapy, no matter what your age. Wild animals are fascinating, beautiful and hysterical. By the time I got back to my office, I was the happiest I have been in weeks.

EMAIL: heather@deseretnews.com

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