Adventures,  Kids

Utah’s Hogle Zoo

Riding the Rhino statue at Utah’s Hogle Zoo

Our summer would not be complete for our family without a trip to our local zoo! It was our animal-loving 2 year old W’s first time, and our first visit in years so there were some changes at the zoo since we last visited—all good things! I love that there’s more shaded areas and fans, upgraded enclosures with more space or better viewing for animals, more creatures to visit, and lots of fun art and exhibits to look for. They removed the grassy area where we used to picnic, but also added more shaded chairs and tables for the eateries. The zoo is generally a “kid place” but Jer and I had so much fun, too!

Going on a weekday (Thursday) shortly after they opened was awesome—parking at the main entrance was a breeze, the animals were alert, we saw animals active that we normally don’t see at all, and there were minimal crowds and cooler temperatures. We were also ready for the heat with sunscreen, hats, water bottles, and a spray bottle. We even packed lunch and snacks, so being prepared really made for an enjoyable time since we planned to stay all day. Even with two free kid tickets, it was $40 so we wanted to experience all the zoo had to offer.

Classic Animal Shows

The long-running (25 years?) Bird Show is always a highlight for us! Definitely sit towards the front if you can so the birds can fly right overhead. I love the hawks, eagles, doves, owls, parrots, macaws, and even the rooster! It’s lots of fun, shaded, and we got to meet their new parrot they’re trying to train with Poco!

Bird Show at Utah’s Hogle Zoo
Elephant Encounter at Utah’s Hogle Zoo

The elephants have always been my little girl’s favorite! Glad we were able to see the elephant demonstration where they showed off their amazing trunk skills, did some stretches, talked about grooming/care of the animals, how elephants keep themselves cool in the heat, and even made a painting to exercise some of the over 40,000 muscles in their trunk!

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

The lions were out, the leopards were right up front, and even the grizzly bears came out of hiding during our visit! It was AWESOME because every other time I’ve been here all of these animals were asleep or hiding from the heat. The kids got to touch and feel the different coats on Tigers and Leopards.

Zoo Art Exhibit – Washed Ashore

There were some amazing works of art made entirely from plastic pollution washed up on the Oregon coast. Each sculpture represents a species negatively affected by the debris, and I loved that throughout the zoo there was info to encourage people to reduce-reuse-recycle to save our oceans. We even signed a pledge to use only reusable water bottles so we don’t throw out plastic ones!

Zoo Splash Pad and Playground

They built an awesome new playground called Creekside! Treehouses, slides, giant structures to climb, little caves with cave art and hidden animal figures… my kids loved it! The splash pad (Lighthouse Point) is right next door as one of our favorite ways to cool off and have the kids take a break. If we go in the summer next time I would bring a swim diaper if needed, and towels—although, they wore clothes that were pretty thin anyway and air dried by the end of our visit. W found a frog in the cave!

Seals, Sea Lions, and Polar Bear

These animals were the least shy ones we saw at the zoo, and probably the happiest because they got to play in the water nonstop—and that made for some really cool animal encounters. My kids freaked out with joy that a seal not only swam by them several times, but came right up to the glass to show its face and check them out. Even a polar bear butt made it! This is the first time I remember the polar bear being out and playing with its toys, taking a dip, and squishing into the corner of the glass.

Reptile House

Baby W’s favorite was the reptile house! He couldn’t leave the turtles, kept pointing super excited at the snakes, loved the monitors and geckos and frogs… There were also some sweet smaller animals like sleeping cats.

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