I apologize for the delay of this review. We have always checked out the local zoo/aquariums when we go places (although our daughter is now 18, we always enjoy it.) Our early August trip to the ABQ BioPark Zoo was a good experience. We went around 9:30 (it opens at 9) and started with the zoo, as our experiences have taught us that zoo animals are more active before it gets hot.The forecast for that day was a sunny high of 87. We parked in the main parking lot and caught the park train to the zoo. The admission was $16 which included the $1 for the train ride, which was about a 10-12 minute ride and was quite peaceful; it went past areas of the Botanical Gardens and Tingley Beach as well. It would be good ride for the kids.
It is possible to do all three areas in 1 day, but be prepared for a long day. You will spend more time in the zoo. We actually did the zoo/botanical garden/aquarium in that order, but in hindsight we should have done zoo/aquarium/botanical garden, because we ended up hurrying through the aquarium so we could catch the last train back to the parking lot.
The animals at the zoo are pretty easy to see. There was a giraffe feeding scheduled several times throughout the day. This is one where anyone can pay $1 and hand feed the giraffes. It was pretty cool. Both my wife and daughter did it. The attraction was really popular. If you want a good shot of your kid(s) feeding the giraffes, stand on the platform with them, but behind them. Tell the attendants what you plan to do, because they try to keep the area clear as it can be a little busy. There was also a polar bear feeding. This was a spectator event only, but was also extremely popular and was pretty crowded when we got to it. The times are posted, so if you want to get a good view, get there early. I would recommend to anyone who wants to get GOOD photos in a crowded situation to become fairly proficient in holding the camera over your head (and everyone else's) when taking a picture. It gives you a better chance of getting a good photo and it makes a more interesting picture.
The Botanical Garden has a netted walk-through butterfly exhibit which is pretty interesting. If your kids are afraid of insects, this may not be the thing for them.The butterflies fly freely and may/will land on them.The rest of the garden is more of a nature walk, so if your small kids are restless, be prepared to keep them occupied. This by no means means it should be avoided, but I remember going places with my daughter when she was younger and what might interest you doesn't always interest them.
Part of the aquarium was under renovation when we were there, so we missed some things. It was still pretty interesting, though. Nice big wall-sized tanks with plenty of sea life in them. There is a restaurant when you come out of the aquarium that has some in-wall tanks at the tables. It was a good day. We weren't disapointed. Of course check out their website before you go.
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