Al E. Gator

Al E. Gator, originally uploaded by Kirk Howard.

If you are looking for a great place to work on your photography technique or just take some fun great pictures, then take a day trip to your local Zoo.

My wife and I have been to our local Zoo a few times this year. We became members of the zoo in January. This allows us to get to the Zoo as often as we like for free. This week I have been to our local Zoo three times.

Our local Zoo is the Oakland Zoo. However, there are several local zoos’ to choose from in the Bay Area, but the Oakland Zoo is just a few miles from our house.

The Oakland Zoo is located East of I-580 in the Oakland Hills. It is a small Zoo with a lot to offer. It is small enough to tour the entire Zoo within a few hours, but large enough for you to see large predators and large game animals up close.

Some of the main attractions are the crowed pleasers like the Elephants, Lions, Tigers and Giraffes. Last year (2007) the Giraffe family had a new addition. However by the time we got off our butts to see the little guy, he wasn’t so little anymore.


Some of our favorite attractions are the Fox Faced Bats. My wife thinks they are the most interesting of all the exhibits. I like the Ring Tailed Lemurs. They are a fascinating little tribe. I also like the White-handed Gibbons. The young male swings in the trees with the greatest of ease.

This year the Oakland Zoo has introduced another Sun Bear. The Zoo has also acquired two rare lemurs, blue-eyed black lemurs. I haven’t seen them yet. According to the Zoo News it may be some time until they will be fully integrated with the Ring Tailed Lemurs.

What Cracker?

The Oakland Zoo also offers a great place to take the kiddos and let them run-a-muck in the new children’s Zoo. No it’s a Zoo with children it… The children’s Zoo has kid friendly animas for them to interact with i.e. the Alligators. They’re kind of kid friendly. They’re cuddly in their own way… The Zoo does have a new petting Zoo, and other exhibits that appeal to the pint size patrons.

Go out and enjoy you local Zoo. Have fun and relax, just make sure you take your “Big Glass”. I have shot most of my images with my Nikon Nikkor 300mm f/4.0 with a 1.4x extender. It lets me get up close and personal with the big cats, without becoming part of the food chain.

Big Smile

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