Traveling Around - Springfield, Missouri - Dickerson Park Zoo
On the northern side of Springfield, Missouri, near the intersection of I-44 and M-13 is the Dickerson Park Zoo. As Highway 13 crosses the interstate, there is a series of confusing stop lights and roundabouts that almost derailed us from our destination. Perseverance paid off, however. The parking lot was spacious and the museum entrance was a welcome sight.
The zoo is divided into 5 major areas. They are Africa, South America, Australia, Tropical Asia, and Missouri Habitats. Part of the areas were closed off during our visit as the zoo repaired and expanded its exhibits. This was particularly true in the Missouri Habitats Area.
We mostly just wandered around without much of a plan, trying not to duplicate our steps. It was chilly and I have a tendency to tire pretty quickly so we tried to see the things that to us were the most impressive.
Just inside the main entrance is the Australia area. We found the Eclectus Parrot to be interesting. They have almost a fur like feather covering that is very colorful.
One part of the zoo that really impressed us was the wandering throughout the zoo of the peacocks. You may see them at any turn in the walkway. They may be crouched in the grass and flowers that stretch out to hold other animals. I'd assume they have enough sense to avoid the predatory animal areas but they were scattered around pretty thoroughly..
I also wondered what happens when a rambunctious 5 year old thinks they're pretty and wants to pet one or catch one. At one time during our visit to the zoo, I could hear a peacock calling out with its unmistakable sound and wondered if a 5 year old had found it compelling.
We first wandered through the Missouri Habitats and the Tropical Asia areas. Most of the animals in these areas were smaller. There were quite a few birds although there was not a large aviary. It's always enjoyable to see the bright colors among the more mundane colors of the animal environment.
Much of the zoo terrain is up and down and I began to tire pretty quickly. Sharon, however, remained sprightly and covered most of the minor trails and brought back pictures of her sightings.
The route Sharon took would lead her up one hill and then across and down a second one. I meandered along, stopped to sightsee and rest as I went and wound up near the giraffe pens. It wasn't more than a minute or so until this fellow spotted me standing by the fence looking. He wandered over, wanting something the eat.
At about the same time the conductor/engineer on the kiddy train ride came along and began a conversation with the attendant at the giraffe food concession. Seeing the giraffe looking expectantly, she handed the engineer a wafer for the animal and he generously offered me half to feed the giraffe. I declined and enjoyed watching the giraffe's long tongue come slicing out and gently taking the food from the man.
Sharon soon appeared over top the hill and when she got to where I was, she was also offered a chance to feed the giraffe. She sort of shuddered and said "no, thanks."
Our last stop was at the Reptile House. It was enjoyable to see the reptiles - large and small - that inhabited the structure. There were some very colorful poinsonous frogs where we tried to get pictures. But when we tried to take them through glass and into the camouflage surrounding the small creature, we couldn't get any to turn out very good so that they could be identified. Here's an example of what we saw. If you look long enough, you'll be able to see the frog.
It's always interesting to me to see the colorful snakes that coil around themselves and make themselves at home in branches and leafy areas.
We spent a couple hours at the zoo and obviously didn't see everything. I couldn't make the rounds completely and there were animals that were tucked inside their homes keeping warm rather than being outside in the cooler weather.
There is an eating establishment at the zoo and picnicking is encouraged at the park which is outside zoo grounds. There is an admission charge (you can visit, go out to the picnic area for a picnic, and get readmission to the zoo at no charge) and a small charge for the scenic train ride available. There is a lot of discussion on the zoo's web site.