Shanghai Zoo

Well we did make it to the Zoo, as the photo album shows.  The Shanghai Zoo is close to the Hongqiao airport and not too far form the city center.  We took the 925 bus from People’s Square and after some bumpy stops arrived outside the gate.  The first thing to notice is the fresh flowers sent.  Unlike many zoo’s in the states there was no animal smell present, which was very nice.
In the US I have been to the Milwaukee, Detroit, Atlanta, Montgomery, Birmingham, New Orleanse, and Norfolk zoos and many aquariums.  Going into the Shanghai Zoo you are shocked to see two huge fields but no signs of any animals.  Walking through the gate you go down a path and end up at a small shop and a huge sign that showcases all the rare animals of China and where they are located on a huge ceramic tiled map.  Continue past the map, we opted for the golf cart tour so Coco could save her strength, and you are greeted by very large glass cylinders full of fish.  This was a very interesting and unique series of out door fish tanks.  Next is a large lake and then the animal exhibits come into view.
I love the Shanghai Zoo.  They not only have natural looking landscaping between all the exhibits, but they include the native plants and environment as well around the exhibits.  The panda area is surrounded by bamboo and forrest trees.  I got to see a giant panda munching away on some bamboo, it would have been better to see it outside but it was still pretty cool.  I also got to see some rare red pandas, they look more like crimson racoons them panda bears, and they are pretty amazing as well.
We also saw some Chinese black and brown bears along with a very hot polar bear.  I felt sorry for the polar bear as his water tank was very very green and he looked not too happy in his concrete pen.  The brown bear had learned to do tricks for treats, so we watched him sit up and pray for snacks.  The black bears were typical black bears, but the Asian Black Bear was different.  It has a thick black mane simislar to a lions making its head seem very small.  Its neck has a white chevron on it making it look rather curious.
The wild dogs, very small wolves, almost coyote sized, and the foxes were rather small in numbers and seemed uneasy in their pens.  The big cats were much more content, the tigers were asleep and not up for any photo opertunities.  The lions were a bit different.  Having watched some nature channel shows I learned how male lions announce their presence in a new territory, its a very deep grunt.  I tried it out and the male lion in the pen came up to the fense looking all around for the intruding lion, but not smelling one he turned around and left.
We then saw the exotic creatures to China, the African exhibit, with rhino, giraffe, zebra, but no hippo.  In the area was also the kangaroo but I did not see any kawala bears.  We skipped the birds and reptitles, we arrived with only 2 hours to see the whole zoo.  The elephants were in an inside pen and Coco did not like the smell so I snapped a quick photo and we went on to the monkey pens.  Here we saw the regular array of primates, except for the Golden Monkey pen.  These are Chinese monkies and very rare from what I understood.  They are pretty smart and agile.  All the monkies here have learned how to climb the fense and stick out a hand for treats.  Despite the signs people still feed all the animals.
I did see some people step over the small fense and go right up to the cages to feed or play with the monkies, which as to all of us who have seen AFV or similar shows is a recepie for diaster.  No one got grabbed, slapped, or bitten but it was still one of those moments you expect to see it happen.  Between many of the areas are large open fields or tree lined roads.  This helps to keep the area cooler and fresher and also block all the noise.  I did not notice the same amount of concrete you see in many American zoos where the zoo has to balance space and animal exhibits.  Here there is plenty of space and you feel like you are in a large park more then in a zoo.  Overall I enjoyed the visit and look forward to going again.  The price is not too much compaired to American zoos and even if they lack the quantity of animals and exhibits many large US zoos have, it is a very nice place to go and see the animals and even relax on one of the many open green grassy fields.
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