Went to the zoo last weekend, COVID restrictions being raised enough for that. I could say I was underwhelmed, but that wouldn’t be fair.
When my children were younger, we had a membership for the Toronto Zoo. It was a five-hour drive, yet we knew we would visit at least three times in a year, which made it a cost-effective choice.
Toronto has one of the world’s great zoos. I was an adult the first time I visited, and I still enjoy visiting every few years. Even if there is nothing new, the animals are always entertaining.
You’ve probably never heard of Freiburg’s zoo, The Mundenhof. That’s not surprising. It really isn’t in the same league as The Toronto Zoo. Nor does it try to be.
Admission is free (though you do have to pay for parking), which is a real plus for families on a budget. On a hot summer afternoon it is a nice place to be.
The animals tend more towards the mundane than the exotic. I imagine that is due to budgetary constraints. If you aren’t charging admission you don’t have much money to acquire or keep animals. There are no giant pandas here. Not even any red pandas.
The first thing I saw were the rabbits, which I have never thought of as zoo animals. Then again, I don’t remember if I have seen any running free here. Certainly in Ottawa there are plenty of rabbits around (and deer, raccoons even the odd coyote and bear), but this is not Ottawa.
It seemed to me that most of the animals were European. No lions, tigers, elephants or giraffes. Which didn’t bother me – I’ve seen those in the wild (except for tigers).
About as exotic as it got was a small herd of camels. I suppose the American bison might seem exotic to some, but I used to eat buffalo steak from the farm down the road when I lived in Pembroke. Bison were not an uncommon sight; there were several buffalo ranches in the area.
On this visit I was looking at the Mundenhof through adult eyes. I’ve been to zoos. This one was pleasant enough, but there was no “WOW!” factor.
For a child, I’m sure it would be a completely different story. And it does seem to me that this zoo really is for the children.