I took advantage of yesterday's sunshine by finally paying a visit to the Buffalo Zoo. I've been meaning to go all summer and am glad I made it before the really cold weather came. The zoo is one of the area's biggest tourist attractions. It was designed as a part of the Buffalo park system by Frederick Olmsted in 1875. In more recent years, it was a controversial topic among area residents. The zoo's accreditation was jeopardized when it was accused of having substandard care facilities for the animals. There was also talk of the zoo moving from its historic location in order to expand. Ultimately, in 2002, the Buffalo Zoo finalized plans to rennovate and update many of its facilities. In 2008, many of the updates were completed including Sea Lion Cove and the impressive Rain Forest Falls. The updates will continue for years and I am optimistic about the zoo's future.
Upon arriving, I noticed signs instructing me to try out the Buffalo Zoo iPhone app. I'm told that Buffalo is the first zoo in the country to have developed such an app. It features a map that pinpoints your location in the zoo and shows you what animals and exhibits are nearby. It also has schedules of upcoming events such as zookeeper talks, tours, demonstrations, and feedings. The app even includes audio and video clips about some of the animals in the zoo.
One of everyone's favorite animals to visit in any zoo is the polar bear. The Buffalo Zoo is home to two. While seeing any animal held in captivity can be a little sad, the polar bears seemed especially depressed to me. They were pacing back and forth in their small and bare enclosures. I am delighted to report, however, that the Buffalo zoo just announced today that they will be developing a new habitat for the bears, to be called the Arctic Edge habitat. The update to the habitats, which were originally designed in 1930 comes just in time, as the zoo's 10 year old female polar bear may be expecting cubs soon.
Some of the other highlights of my visit included the new Rainforest Falls exhibit, the adorable snow leopard cubs, and my favorite animals, the tigers.
The Buffalo Zoo is open year-round. It is available for birthday parties, and holds events throughout the year such as Halloween hayrides, holiday parties, and more. The Buffalo Zoo always needs funding to continue renovations and to improve the quality of life for the animals. I encourage everyone to visit the zoo and to donate to support its continued growth.