Despite the fact that it was varying between snowing heavily/freezing rain all morning and well into the afternoon, I agreed to visit Roger Williams Park Zoo in Rhode Island with my mom and my cousin Paige on Saturday. I know there are many mixed feelings about zoos, especially when it comes to the ethical treatment of animals, but one of the things I’ve always loved about Roger Williams is how well they take care of their animals and their conservation efforts to save endangered species and educate the public about the benefits of going green as it pertains to the environment. The staff is dedicated, educated, and very compassionate- and the animals are well fed and have plenty of space to move around freely.
The zoo is open year-round, and although some of the exhibits change in the colder months, we still saw plenty of animals we hadn’t expected- including zebras, giraffes, elephants, and red pandas- and it was pretty amazing to see how they reacted to the weather. While it was snowing, the zebras and wildebeests kept running out from underneath an awning where they had been eating to check things out . When the snow turned to freezing rain, the red pandas (my favorite!), who seemed to be enjoying sliding around in it at first- eventually looked at each other in what I can only describe as a “screw this” kind of way and retreated indoors where it was warm. The only animals that didn’t seem fascinated or phased by the snow/ice were a huge snow leopard (obviously,) a couple of sleeping moon bears, and the red wolves.
There was an indoor area kept nice and warm for the giraffes and elephants to eat and exercise. I had a lot of fun with an elephant named Kate who kept approaching where I was standing and hamming it up for my camera every chance she got. She even cut in front of the other elephants- Alice, I believe- when she saw me taking her picture.
When we left, we were soaked through and chilled to the bone (we never think to bring umbrellas to outings like these for some inexplicable reason,) but it was a nice time. I’d like to go back during the Spring or Summer to see some of the exhibits geared towards more warmer climates- especially the Australian animals.