Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Visit to Pittsburgh Zoo

This was my and Vish's *very first* visit to any decent place outside CMUniverse and our den. Ever since we have been wanting to visit the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium.

When our grand plans to visit New Jersey went down the drains, we became even MORE desperate to tread outside. Zoo was the perfect choice, since we all love animals (for the time being, lets keep aside the argument: If you love animals so much, how come you like to see them in captivity!). So the usual trio, myself, Raju ki maa (aka Moti... err Ritu) and Raju (aka Vishal) all set out early morning for the zoo!

The Trio: Ready for some kicka$$ adventure in the rains!

First step outside the apartment and my reaction was: #@$! WTF!!! It's raining! Why the !@$# we didn't see the weather forecast (which, btw, unlike India, is pretty accurate here in States!) and plan the day :( Damn! The only plan to go to a decent place is gonna be screwed. Heavy hearted, opening our umbrellas we all tread along, just in the hopes that rain will soon stop by the time we reached the bus stop. Alas! We were wrong, and I recommended going back home, since it would be waste of time and money to visit zoo in this weather. As most of the enclosures are open to sky, I argued no animal would want to drench in this nasty rain. Vish & Ritu insisted we stick to the plan.

Still raining, we reached the Zoo, paid the entry fee ($8) and I asked the guy if there was even slightest chance we could glimpse even half of the animals advertised on their website. He gleefully said 'Most Certainly, Sir'! Still skeptical, we moved on, silently cursing ourselves for just throwing $$$s and time down the drain. We certainly should be crazy to do this... Looking at the map, we strode inside the zoo...

A way into the wilderness...

Lo and behold! Good Lord! Was my first reaction... and all the gloominess sublimed in thick moist air! It was raining, unwieldily maneuvering our umbrellas and cameras, we tried to capture the a really really huge tiger, into our virtual world of digital photography. But wait, he refused to go away... Blissfully playing and rolling around (videos to come soon, once I edit out noise and put a real cool NatGeo-like music in!). Wow! We all smiled at each other, this is gonna be freaking awesome! Thanks to Vish and Moti, rain, after all, wasn't a deterrent for these mighty beasts! The zoo, I should take a moment to say, is REALLY amazing!
I believe the $8 fee is way too little for the quality of zoo this is! It's so well maintained, and all the animals, seem, to have been taken care of pretty well.

3 wild-n-mighty beasts in one single frame!

3 Cheers for the tiger!

Kings of the kings: rather listless today :(
(probably the 2 had a fight last night over what channel to watch!)

Then came a VERY huge artificially created Tropical Rain Forest enclosure, where there were a variety of monkeys. The place is meticulously controlled for it's resemblance to actual rain forest: the light, humidity, ambiance, temperature, etc. Pretty impressive. Outside, while having hot (but absolutely tasteless) burger, we could watch this huge bear:

Kodiak bear (from Grizzly bear family) trying the strength of his mighty teeth on the log!

The indoor aquarium was just breath taking! You name a fish, tiny, small, big, huge, really really huge, anything, and it was here!
Someday, I'll have a this waterfall and aquarium kind of arrangement in my house too!
Waterfall and the fish aquarium

Beautiful Emperor Angel Fish

This fish is REALLY BIG!

Straight out of a fairy-tale book: Sea Dragon

Another beautiful indoor aquarium.

Touching the sting ray and small shark!!!

Family reunion :-P

Suse Linux!!!

But *the* best part was seeing Polar Bear playing with a rubber ball! It is one of the most spectacular wildlife moments I've seen! Now, as you can see, the zoo is REALLY very well architect'ed: you could see these polar bears from top, kinda bird's eye view, or through a glass enclosure, where water level reaches your knee, or from an underground glass tunnel, which is MOST exciting of the views! You can so closely see the Bear's graceful movements that you will be mesmerized, just like us. We spent good part of 45 minutes just observing the bear!
Here's a video:

Here are more videos for you to watch: Pitt Zoo Videos. Plus, Vish has uploaded the whole album on Picasa, a good 325 photos from his and my cameras. I'll do it soon too. Meanwhile have a look at the pictures and videos Vish has uploaded.

Maa, we are tired, ready to go back home!

Oh, and yes, Wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and New Year!


0. Complete Album
1. Few of our videos
2. Pittsburgh Zoo Videos


Sagar Bhanagay said...

Damn cool man!!! I loved the snap with the tiger. I adore this animal so much!

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium said...

We are so, so glad you enjoyed your visit to the Pittsburgh Zoo and really liked reading about your experience. Would you consider putting a link to the Zoo on your web site that would go to cute Zoo videos? It would help us with our SEO marketing and your readers will get a glimpse at some really cute videos. Thanks in advance for your support of the Zoo and for your consideration of this request.