Last June, my wife and I took a trip up to the Bronx Zoo. Prior to moving back to New York City in 2010, I’d lived here as a kid, or visited numerous times, but I don’t know that I had ever been to the Bronx Zoo before. Anyway, we showed up about two hours after opening and, after some deliberation, went ahead and put out the extra money for the all-access passes instead of paying a-la-carte as we went through the zoo. The zoo has a large amount of free “content” but if you want the “premium” experience, you have to pay a heftier fee.
I think it was worth the money. We almost exclusively visited the premium areas, but ran out of time before seeing everything. Of course, some of the stuff we wouldn’t want to see anyway, because it was geared towards kids, but basically the Bronx Zoo is a two day experience, at least. There’s so much left that we didn’t see that we’re definitely going to have to go back again.
My favorite photos from our trip:
Mural in tunnel near Boston Rd. Zoo Entrance
The big gorilla in the “Congo Gorilla Forest”
Orange baby monkey
A bright orange poison dart frog.
If you’re thinking of visiting the zoo, my only suggestions are to bring water, food (inside prices are out of control), a hat for shade and comfortable shoes for standing in lines for access to some of the premium areas like the Asia Monorail and the Dinosaur Safari, which we didn’t ride, but saw the line for while walking towards the butterfly garden.
The last few times I was in the Philippines I didn’t really notice anything but ants and mosquitoes. We had quite a bit of excitement this time around though, with giant spiders and snakes. Here are some photos:
Golden Orb Weaver
This ugly bastard is about the size of your average wallet, including the legs. I’m no expert on spiders, so I don’t know what breed it is, but I read somewhere that things that have bright colors are usually poisonous, and this spider has yellow dots on its back. It has a big web in the front yard at my father-in-law’s house. It was there when we arrived in the Philippines on the 25th and it was there when we stopped by before leaving on the 5th of March. As far as I can tell, it never moved. There were quite a few smaller spiders in the web around it too, so assume they are its offspring.
The first night we were in Antipolo we opened the bathroom to find this thing waiting for us. It didn’t seem to want us in there, because it started advancing on us. Armed with a stick and a slipper we managed to beat it into submission… well, to death. It’s a bit easier to get perspective on this one than the first. The bulb on the ceiling there is about twice the size of the average lamp lightbulb. Also, you can see that the spider could hug the shower curtain rod with room to spare.
I didn’t get a picture of it but we saw a second one in the kitchen on the night I was having my birthday party. It was hanging out by the back door, which was open for some ventilation. No one but me seemed to mind that it was there. What was even more creepy about the second one is that it was carrying an egg sac. “Arachnophobia” anyone?
Squashed Cane Spider
Here’s a picture of a third one, or possibly the one with the egg sac that didn’t get killed, after I beat it to death on the floor of the bedroom. It came out from behind the dresser and tried to hide behind the curtain, but I spotted it. By this point I was really keeping an eye out for them. It didn’t stand a chance.
These things might be common in the Philippines, but I don’t really like the idea of sharing a living space with them. The next time we’re there, I think I’ll front the money to have them all dealt with by an exterminator.
Snake Hanging Out
We were walking through my wife’s old neighborhood in Antipolo when we saw a big group of students from the nearby De La Salle school gathered together looking at something. I guess this snake must be a python because it didn’t seem to be biting anyone, even when one of the kids picked it up and started chasing his friends with it. Keep in mind that this neighborhood doesn’t have many houses with window screens. Imagine waking up with this guy in bed with you.
3 Pigs Riding a Motorcycle
I got lucky and got this photo on the ride to the airport. I’ve never seen anything like it before, or even considered doing something like it. Filipinos will use a motorcycle for damn near anything I guess.