The New Zoo Review

(See what I did there? What do you mean you don't remember this? Would the theme song help?)

Today we trekked off to The Reston Zoo. I'm not sure who recommended it to me, but I'm grateful that they did. This is a lovely little excursion, and it's closer than the one downtown and, in many ways, much nicer.

The Good:

  • Getting there is much less traumatic than driving downtown. Plus they have plenty of parking.
  • They have this very cool "safari wagon ride", essentially a tractor pulling a cart with benches. But! It goes through a fun loop where you can see ostriches, emu, antelope, llamas, sheep, deer, cows, watusi, zebra, camels, and other assorted animals. They stop the tractor here and there and the animals all clearly expect to be fed, so they swarm the wagon looking for those of you who purchased animal food to share with them. Even if you don't feed them, they will, mostly, let you pet them. How many of you can say you've pet a watusi? That's what I thought! (For a four year old boy, this is pretty close to what heaven will be.) The safari wagon alone was worth the price of admission.
  • The budgie aviary. Now, ok, budgies aren't the worlds most fascinating bird and you can find them in just about any pet store. But it's not often that you can walk among them flying free(ish, there is a screen around the enclosure, after all). And they had so many different varieties (color-wise), way more than you typically see in the pet store. Again, a four year old boy was quite delighted.
  • They have kangaroos and a kookaburra. (Of course, this means I had the song stuck in my head all afternoon, but it's a small price to pay.)
  • And a porcupine.
  • The reptile house, I'm told, had some very cool Burmese Pythons (very long and python-y, I guess.) As well as other very exciting snakes. I can't verify that for myself as I stayed outside and enjoyed watching a mother hen and her chicks wander around randomly.
  • They have a petting/feeding barn where you can feed all manner of goats, sheep, and pigs (again with the food they are happy to sell you). 
The Less Good:
  • It's relatively small and you're not going to find lions, tigers, and bears (oh my!). Or elephants. (The latter was disappointing to the four year old. He does love elephants.) But honestly, you don't get to touch the exotic animals at the big zoo, so it's a trade off.
  • It's kind of pricey...especially if you buy food (and really, you need to buy the animal food. I felt bad for the kids who didn't have something to feed the animals - those animals really wanted you to feed them and lavished love (and drool) on those who were able to do so.) Though I guess if you factor in the parking at the big zoo, it might be a wash.
We'll definitely be going back. The chance to pet the animals (and feed them, did I mention that?!) was really a big hit with the kiddo. They also offer pony rides and paddle boats, but we didn't avail ourselves of those extra items (as in extra cost) this go-round. I have no doubt that, in the future, we will.

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