last friday, we were invited to check out brew at the zoo, held at the gladys porter zoo in brownsville, texas. the event, which benefited animal conservation, was a beer and food sampling festival complete with live music and beer pong tournaments! having never visited the zoo, we took the opportunity at the beginning of the night to explore a bit.
the zoo is large, with a pretty exotic array of animals. [in all of my zoo trips i don't believe i've ever seen a camel. and the zebras are usually hiding.] we especially loved how in most exhibits there was a lack of barriers. instead, the enclosures were designed to be open, yet keep the animals a little further back from visitors using moats, or other more "organic" obstacles. only a couple areas had definitive glass barricades, like the tiger exhibit. [i can get on board with that.] it was really nice to see the birds and monkeys hanging out in trees and not only through a pane of glass. and while they are still undoubtedly unable to leave their little area, the whole effect overall seemed a lot more natural, like visiting a park, as opposed to the traditional zoo experience of peering at them through a straight up cage. in fact, we did see a monkey we think was trying to escape by climbing to the top of a tree, and gauging if he could swing from the top to the boardwalk...no such luck this week.
due to the event, the zoo was open later than usual, which meant we were free to wander around at sunset. this turned out to be the perfect time to see all of the animals. not only were we some of the few who meandered away from the beer and food [so we pretty much had the place to ourselves], but we're guessing the animals are usually fed around this time of day, since at each exhibit they were so active and came right up to us expectantly. the tigers were literally stomping around in anticipation of dinner, and others from the giraffes to the emus and focused on us with some pretty laser-like intensity. not only was the light beautiful, but it was a really special way to see everything.
the next event at the gladys porter zoo is zoofari, a gala event being held on saturday, october 1st. if possible, i highly recommend trying to go visit "after hours."