3.17.2015

ZooZooReview Has Moved

ZooZooReview has officially moved to noandjen.blogspot.com. Please head there for any future updates on our zoo adventures. Thank you for following us @ ZooZooReview.

3.09.2015

Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Clearwater Marine Aquarium
Clearwater, FL
Date of Visit: Summer 2012
Admission: $21.95
Hours: 9AM-6PM

Quick Intro
As you have probably figured out by their website name the Clearwater Marine Aquarium is where the Dolphin Tale movies were filmed. Judging by that fact it seemed like it would be a cool little place to check out. It was reasonably priced and local to where we were at the time. They rescue, research, rehabilitate, and release animals so the mission is awesome. It is a tad smaller though than most places we have visited.

Highlights
The rescue part of it, winter's story, the sea turtles, and the pelicans were all neat.

Disappointments
Wish it was much bigger and had a wider variety of animals to look at.

Pictures from the website
Turtle Bayou
Shipwreck Alley
Otter Oasis
Shark Pass
Rufus Beach
Winter Zone

Rating
I gave this zoo 1.5 out of 5 elephants.
This zoo gets ranked higher than the Seas at Epcot because it is a rehab zoo that does a tremendous job. If you have seen the Dolphin Tale movie and liked it, I am sure that adds something to it as well. It also isn't too expensive. Most importantly though as far as viewing animals it is not an impressive place to be so it can't be ranked too high. Just from an amount of animals to look at, it matches up about even with Tarpon Springs, but Tarpon Springs is 1/3 the price. Therefore, this had to be somewhere in between 0 and 2. Putting it on the higher end of that because of the entertainment value of Winter and the mission of the aquarium.

-Noland

2.16.2015

Gulf World Marine Park

Gulf World Marine Park
Panama City Beach, Florida
Date of Visit: December 2014
Admission: $28
Hours: 930AM-4PM

Quick Intro
Gulf World was a decent aquarium in Panama City. It is the first time I was able to visit a zoo locally while visiting my wife's family, so that was exciting. It is pretty small, but we were able to spend a few hours here. While it opened at 930, most of the creatures weren't out until 11 or so. They had some cool exhibits including the closest we've ever gotten to Flamingos. Several animals that seem they are at every FL animal attraction were present such as Alligators, Stingrays, and African Penguins. It was a decent experience.

Highlights
There were two fantastic shows at Gulf World. The first great show was the Sea Lion show which also featured rough-tooth dolphins. The second was the Bottlenose Dolphin show. Each of these were fantastic dolphin shows and better than the dolphin shows at Sea World. They were easily the highlight of the visit.

Disappointments
The shows other than the dolphin shows were a waste of time. The first show featured dogs, cats, and a rat. The reptile show only had 3 animals. Other shows were uninteresting. When we got there, as mentioned earlier, most animals were not on exhibit. There is a lot of wasted space at this zoo too. Considering how small this place is, there should not be wasted space. It appeared that there was an effort to help this by constructing a new stingray area, but right now they need to fill some of that void. Also the reptile show was surprisingly disappointing. The gator even peed on half of the audience during the show. The other reptile out was a bearded dragon and that also had an accident.

Pictures

Macaw

Random turtle

Son loved this Flamingo exhibit

Tortoises
African Penguins
Sea Turtles
Sea Lions
Rough Tooth Dolphins

Mid-air dolphin

Again mid-air

About to splash!
End of the sea lion show. This dolphin and sea lion kissed.
Our son was thrilled after the rough tooth dolphin show.
End of the Bottlenose Dolphin show.
In the end, we were looking around for more, but poked our heads in and enjoyed ourselves.

Rating
I gave this aquarium 2.5 out of 5 elephants.
The reason for this rating is simple. There were two fantastic shows both involving dolphins, but other than that this aquarium was a snoozefest. The day started with empty exhibits and a dud of a show in "Feathers and Furry Friends." While some of the exhibits were cool like the turtles and the penguins, they were not as cool as other exhibits we have seen featuring the same creatures. The shows bumped this place up to average because they were that good. Other than the shows, this is a 1 elephant zoo. If you go here you have to check out those shows with the dolphins.

-Noland

1.26.2015

Lowry Park Zoo Annual Pass

We have been to the Lowry Park Zoo several times since moving to Tampa and reviewed the zoo twice. If you have been following this blog, you know that we love this place. It is simply a great place to visit. This family finds it so enjoyable that we decided to get annual passes this year.
Noland Jr. is excited about our zoo passes

Here are the benefits of the Lowry Park Zoo Pass
Unlimited daytime zoo admission to see awesome animals like these Rhinos and Zebras
Discounts on programs, birthday parties, and camps
Discounted admission to special events
Discounted admission to over 150 zoos across North America
Free admission to MOSI and the FL Aquarium in September
Subscription to Zoo Chatter
Special pass holder events
Gift shop discount

Here are the reciprocal zoos that offer 50% off Admission w/ a zoo pass
Alabama
Birmingham Zoo
Alaska
Alaska SeaLife  Center
Arizona
Reid Park Zoo
The Phoenix Zoo
Arkansas
Little Rock Zoo
California
Aquarium of the Bay
Charles Paddock Zoo
CuriOdyssey
Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
Fresno Chaffee Zoo
Happy Hollow Zoo
The Living Desert
Los Angeles Zoo
Oakland Zoo
Sacramento Zoo
San Francisco Zoo
Santa Ana Zoo
Santa Barbara Zoo
Sequoia Park Zoo
Colorado
Pueblo Zoo
Connecticut
Beardsley Zoo
Delaware 
Brandywine Zoo
DC
Smithsonian National Zoo (Free to Public)
Florida
Brevard Zoo
Central Florida Zoo
Clearwater Marine Aquarium (Non-AZA agreement)
Jacksonville Zoo
Lemur Conservation Foundation
Mote Marine Aquarium
Palm Beach Zoo
The Florida Aquarium
Zoo Miami
Georgia
Chehaw Wild Animal Park
Zoo Atlanta
Idaho
Tautphaus Park Zoo
Zoo Boise
Illinois
Cosley Zoo
Henson Robinson Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo (Free to Public)
Miller Park Zoo
Peoria Zoo
Scovill Zoo
Indiana
Fort Wayne's Children's Zoo
Mesker Park Zoo
Potawatomi Zoo
Iowa
Blank Park Zoo
National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium
Kansas
David Taylor Zoo of Emporia (Free to Public)
Hutchinson  Zoo (Free to Public)
Lee Richardson Zoo (Free to Public)
Rolling Hill Zoo
Sedwick County Zoo
Sunset Zoo
Topeka Zoological Park
Kentucky
Louisville Zoo
Louisiana
Alexandria Zoo
BREC's Baton Rouge Zoo
Maryland
Maryland Zoo in Baltimore
Salisbury Zoo (Free to Public)
Massachusetts
Buttonwood Park Zoo
Capron Park Zoo
Franklin Park Zoo
Museum of Science 
Stone Zoo
Michigan
Binder Park Zoo
Detroit Zoological Society
John Ball Zoological Gardens
Potter Park Zoological Gardens
The Children's Zoo @ Celebration Square
Minnesota
Como Park Zoo (Free to Public)
Lake Superior Zoo
Minnesota Zoo
Mississippi
Jackson Zoo
Missouri
Endangered Wolf Center
Dickerson Park Zoo
Kansas City Zoo
St. Louis Zoo (Free to Public)
Nebraska
Lincoln Children's Zoo
Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium
Riverside Discovery Center
New Hampshire
Squam Lakes Natural Science Center
New Jersey
Bergen County Zoo
Cape May County Zoo (Free to Public)
Turtle Back Zoo
New Mexico
Alameda Park Zoo
Albuquerque Biological Park
Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park
New York
Binghampton Zoo @ Ross Park
Buffalo Zoo
Rosamond Gifford Zoo @ Burnet Park
Seneca Park Zoo
Staten Island Zoo
Trevor Zoo
North Carolina
Greensboro Science Center
NC Aquarium @ Fort Fisher
NC Aquarium @ Pine Knoll Shores
NC Aquarium @ Roanoke Island
North Carolina Zoological Park
Western North Carolina Nature Center
North Dakota
Chahinkapa Zoo
Dakota Zoo
Red River Zoo
Roosevelt Park Zoo
Ohio
African Safari Wildlife Park
Akron Zoological Park
Boonshoft Museum of Discovery
Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
The Wilds
The Toledo Zoo
Oklahoma
Oklahoma City Zoo
Tulsa Zoo
Oregon
Oregon Zoo
Wildlife Safari
Pennsylvania
Elmwood Park Zoo
Erie Zoo
Lehigh Valley Zoo
National Aviary
Philadelphia Zoo
Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium
ZOOAMERICA
Rhode Island
Roger Williams Park Zoo
South Carolina
Greenville Zoo
Riverbanks Zoo and Garden
South Dakota
Bramble Park Zoo
Great Plains Zoo
Tennessee
Chattanooga Zoo @ Warner Park
Knoxville Zoo
The Memphis Zoo
Nashville Zoo, Inc.
Texas
Abilene Zoological Gardens
Caldwell Zoo
Cameron Park Zoo
Dallas Zoo
El Paso Zoo
Ellen Trout Zoo
Gladys Porter Zoo
Houston Zoo
San Antonio Zoo
Texas State Aquarium
Utah
Utah's Hogle Zoo
Tracy Aviary
Virginia
Mill Mountain Zoo
Virginia Zoo
Washington
Port Defiance Zoo
Woodland Park Zoo
West Virginia
Oglebay's Good Zoo
Wisconsin
Henry Vilas Zoo 
International Crane Foundation
Milwaukee County Zoo
NEW Zii
Racine Zoological Gardens
International
Granby Zoo (Canada)
Parque Zoologico de Leon (Mexico)

And here are some more pictures from our first trip on the passes...
 Meerkats
 Okapi
 African Penguins
 American Alligator that was pooped on. Maybe by Seminoles?
 Viewing a tiger.
 Tiger
 We did get to ride a giraffe!
 Viewing some manatees.
 And a Snake!
 Chimp
 Duck
 Galapagos Tortoise
Giraffe Feeding

Note: You can click on the Lowry Park Zoo tab at the bottom of this page to read those reviews of the zoo.
Additional Note: For any questions about a zoo pass to the Lowry Park Zoo, call (813) 935-8552 ext. 206.

With these passes you can expect us to visit a few of the zoos on this list. Especially those in Florida. Until next time though, have a great one!

-Noland

1.04.2015

Reston Zoo (Update)

Happy New Year From ZooZooReview!

Hope everyone has had a great start to the new year. Our first post this 2015 year is on a zoo we visited for the 2nd time late in 2014, the Reston Zoo.
Reston Zoo
Reston, Virginia
Date of Visit: November 2014

The Reston Zoo was just as fantastic this time as it was the last time we visited. The animals changed slightly, but it was likely due to the season and the experience was similar. If anything I would say the wagon safari was not quite as good, but the animal exhibits were better. There was a balance to this zoo. It is a small zoo which stops it from being 5 star, but it is one we love seeing. With little kids, it is a fantastic thing to experience.

Price Of Admission: The Reston Zoo has an annual zoo membership of $50 for adults and $40 for kids. If you live in Fairfax or Loudoun counties, this could be a great option for you. Reciprocal benefits will be given for Gulf Breeze Zoo in Gulf Breeze, Florida, and Virginia Safari Park in Natural Bridge, Virginia. Likewise membership to those establishments gets you into the Reston Zoo for free. You also get a 10% discount on many items the zoo offers with a membership.
However, if you are just going for one day and plan on visiting just the Reston Zoo, Prices are as follows.
Adult 12.95
Senior 11.95
Child 9.95
Child under 2 Free

2014 Zoo Hours: 9am-5pm most days

What changed from last time: No more sloths, wildebeests, and the baby pigs got older. Also the safari did not come as close to all the animals. However, now they have an Anden Condor (the bird with the largest wingspan in the world). They also have porcupines, kangaroos, a yak, really cool looking deer, and several new snakes. This is in addition to all the other animals that the zoo had before.

Pictures
The Petting Zoo was a highlight for Jr. feeding the animals.
Alpacas were in the petting zoo too.
These goats were hungry.
Fennec Fox
Camel
My boy loves owls.
Don't know if you can tell, but this is him saying owl while looking at the owl.
Andean Condor
Tortoises
Not a reindeer, but sure did look like it on the wagon ride.
There were still zebras on the safari.
I love this shot of the ostrich because you can see its feet really well and how they look so much like dinosaur feet. These birds get really close to the wagon and you can touch them.
Lemurs
This is actually not a buffalo, but a Yak!

We left this zoo at a 4.5 out of 5 elephants rating.
This zoo was perfect for its size, but due to it being a smaller zoo that you finish in less than 3 hours, it was not a 5 star zoo. It did surpass our expectations a great deal the 1st time we went and was still fantastic on our second visit. It is our favorite zoo to visit when we re visiting family in the Northern Virginia area, but we will visit a new zoo next time we are here so we can review a different zoo. That being said, this is not the last time we will visit the Reston Zoo and we recommend you check it out.

-Noland



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