Hold That Tiger

Read about our travels to Jacksonville Florida Zoo and Gardens

…aka…Michael Jackson’s elephant

USA Music Tour 2015 Day 13

Jacksonville Florida 2 September

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens today.


The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens main entrance

Through her work at the Melbourne Zoo, Jenny had arranged to meet Dan Maloney at 9am.

We were on our way from our house in Murray Hill (which actually seems to be pretty flat, now I come to think about it!) by 7.45 and pulled up at the zoo car park only twenty minutes later.  Most of the traffic was coming the other way, south into downtown Jacksonville.

Dan Maloney is Deputy Director of Animal Care and Conservation here at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.  He worked at Melbourne Zoo for around three years, hence the connection with Jenny.  We were given full passes and Dan arrived with water for us and took us on a brief trip on his golf cart, Dan showed us key animal exhibits (rhinos, zebras and elephants) and gave us some great expert behind-the-scenes information

After we bade farewell to Dan, we hopped on the zoo train to get an overview of the ninety acre facility. The air boat on the adjacent Trout River was not running today, unfortunately, due to the current hurricane Erica warnings.

The day was overcast and, oh so steamy.

we patted the strange-looking pygmy goats, and met the penguin keeper and volunteer presenter for a spell in the exhibit, taking turns feeding the magella penguins – Jenny was the best at this.


Jenny feeding the penguins


Morning fish for this little one

Another keeper gave us a detailed picture of the Sumatran tigers,  feeding demonstration, the exhibit, elements of the trails that have been constructed on ground and above, and finally, their compound (two walls of wire between us and them, thankfully).


Jim, Jenny and keeper Dan


One tiger being fed


We gave this fellow a tummy rub and he just wanted more


Another tiger had to work on the carousel today


The amazing animal carousel – half of Noah’s Ark it seemed


An American Alligator – so close I could almost touch him…but didn’t!

A great zoo, the main exhibits are location-based – Africa (one of the elephants there given to the zoo by the late Michael Jackson) , South America (loved the Jaguars!), Australia, Asia and Wild Florida.  Plenty of great ways to see the animals at their best.  Heaps of fun things to do for the younger ones.  The train goes all the way around the perimeter, you can walk out to Trout River, the gardens delightful.

By 3.30 we were done.  Lots of walking, paying close attention to the zoo staff and the humidity had knocked us about a little.

Driving back to the house, we stopped by the Bold Bean coffee-house again, for a cooling down, re-hydration, a bite to eat, the first proper coffee for the day and a recommendation for the evening meal for the evening, 13 Gypies – Spanish tapas bar.  Delicious.

Tomorrow, we travel to the stars.


Read about our travels to Jacksonville Florida Zoo and Gardens


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Author: Rob Dickens

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