Five Reasons The ABQ BioPark Zoo Is Fun For Adults
It goes without saying that families love to take their kids to the zoo, and for obvious reasons. Visiting the zoo, exposes young people to animals they may otherwise not ever see, or even know exist, and the zoo helps to foster a respect for wildlife and to educate about the need for conservation.
That's all well and good but I'm an adult who doesn't have children and I like the zoo too! Here are my top five reasons why the Albuquerque Bio Park Zoo is one of my favorite places to visit on a regular basis.
#5. Urban Hiking - Get Your Steps!
Founded in 1927, the 64 acre ABQ BioPark Zoo (originally called the Rio Grande Zoo) is nestled among the ancient Cottonwoods near the Rio Grande River that runs through the heart of Albuquerque. Over 250 species of animals live here and to see them all requires walking the entire 2.25 miles of paved trail. Conservatively, that is at least 6000 steps and possibly more depending on how many times you circle back around to see the giraffes.
The zoo provides a safe outdoor environment for walking (complete with refreshment stands) during all seasons of the year. Albuquerque is known for it's mild winters so the animals are still out on most days even in December and January.
My favorite way to meet my step goal is to do so while visiting my animal friends!
#4. A Place To Take Visitors
It is worth mentioning that the ABQ BioPark actually consists of four different locations: The Zoo, The Botanic Garden, The Aquarium, and Tingley Beach. Those with a BioPark membership can visit any of these locations for free and some membership levels even allow for bringing extra guests!
Have out-of-town guests and need help keeping them entertained? The ABQ BioPark has something suitable for guests of any age, mobility level, and for all seasons. Your guests may not feel like tromping around the zoo in the snow but, on a bad weather day, they would surely love the Aquarium! And, on a good weather day, there is positively nothing cuter than a baby elephant playing in the water.
#3. See Something Different Every Time
I never tire of visiting the zoo and, part of the reason, is because I know that each time I go I am sure to see something new. As an example, the Mexican Wolves in the above photo have a wonderful enclosure. It is roughly half an acre of wooded land which provides plenty of privacy for the shy wolves. It is such a wonderful enclosure that the wolves are rarely visible. During my many visits to the zoo, I would occasionally see one of the wolves walking around somewhere near the back fence but most of the time they are hiding out and enjoying their privacy. That's ok because the welfare of the animals has to take priority over appeasing looky-lou photographers like myself but, now and then I still get lucky. On this particular day, my husband and I got there right at feeding time and the wolves were running laps through their enclosure. We didn't plan it that way, but it was a pleasant surprise that once again makes the whole experience worth while.
#2. Support Conservation Efforts
The ABQ BioPark plays an important role in wildlife conservation. With the recent addition of two Red List assessors, the BioPark is now at the leading edge of conservation research worldwide.
The Red List is a growing database assessing the extinction threat faced by plants, animals and fungi around the world. The Red List is complied and published by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
Albuquerque's BioPark is the first facility of its type to become a hub for the IUCN and the first facility worldwide to have two Red List assessors.
Every BioPark membership and every visit supports conservation efforts to protect the other creatures that call our planet home.
In addition, the zoo also plays it's own direct role in the preservation of endangered species. Just this year, I have watched two baby Reticulated Giraffes growing up and been able to see the new baby Snow Leopard and there also two new baby Ocelots. Last year, the zoo saw it's 2nd baby Asian Elephant. Many years ago, I remember seeing a bunch of squirmy baby American Alligators and they now occupy the Gator Swamp!
#1. The Animals!
Hands down, the #1 reason I enjoy visiting the ABQ BioPark Zoo is because of the animals. There are over 250 species of animals living at the Zoo and everyone has their favorites. Personally, I am totally in love with the giraffes but I can't hardly drag my mom away from the penguins and my cousin would be happy enough to just stand there and stare at the flamingos all day.
The ABQ BioPark goes to great lengths to provide high quality care for all of their animal residents as well as enclosures that meet their needs. These animals serve as ambassadors and educators so that we all may have a better understanding of the diversity of life that shares our tiny blue planet.
I am DeAnna Vincent, fine art and portrait photographer in Los Lunas, New Mexico. These are the photos from my everyday adventures.