Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Make Your Own Public Restroom Survival Kit Reviewed

Make Your Own Public Restroom Survival KitProtect Yourself in Public Restrooms! 


My husband and I enjoy making day trips as well as traveling. What I hate most about traveling whether for a day, or even a week, is the necessity to use public restrooms.  

By now, we have all heard that you should use a paper towel to open the bathroom doors since so many people do not wash their hands before touching the door knobs.  As if that is not enough to make you cringe, I was recently told that drug addicts will clean their needles by poking them in the toilet paper in the restroom stall.  This takes things to a whole new level of contamination concern.  

To be fair, I did check Snopes to determine if needle cleaning in public restrooms is a valid concern and found that none of the health services questioned had ever heard of that happening.  Still, it made me hesitate to trust the provided toilet paper in public restrooms.

For me and my family, I have decided better safe than sorry.  After all, we know there are germs in any restroom.  With the flu, a multitude of viruses, and the concern for cleanliness, why take the risk if not absolutely necessary? 

Some might consider this an extreme and unnecessary precaution.  Perhaps it is.  But, like any other precautionary measure, if it gives you peace of mind, why not.  You are certainly not hurting anyone else by carrying your own public restroom survival kit.


Items Needed for Your Public Restroom Survival Kit

Make Your Own Public Restroom Survival Kit
I assemble my own public restroom survival kit.  I include individually wrapped toilet seat covers, my own toilet paper in a sandwich bag, flushable single pack wet wipes, camp soap sheets, and a few of my own paper towels. 

I carry two different types of toilet seat covers.  One is the typical paper cover that you see in many public restrooms.  The other is a plastic toilet seat cover.  The plastic seat cover is not flushable, but I find it required in some public rest stops.  Even though it is made to encase the seat cover, I simply lay it on the seat.  If I won't sit on it, I certainly will not lift that seat to "gift wrap" it.

You all can stop laughing now!  No, I am not a germaphobe, but over the years I have truly seen some pretty nasty things in public restrooms.  I won't go into the graphic details and descriptions.  Suffice it to say, I've seen enough to know I believe in the proverbial "ounce of prevention".  In this case, I would alter that saying slightly to state an ounce of protection.

If you think I am alone in this concern, allow me to point out that Amazon.com even offers a pre-assembled public toilet kit.


In a pinch, I would totally invest in that "go bag"!  Because I have time to prepare my own survival kits packed with my preferred supplies, I don't mind putting them together myself.  

If you plan on traveling by plane, you may prefer a clear bag for supplies in your carry-on.  There are no liquids in my public restroom survival kit, but a clear bag might keep baggage inspectors from opening it and touching everything.  Hand sanitizer would need to go in your clear liquid carry-on bag.  If you are traveling by car, you can choose any tote bag.

I prefer a tote bag that will clip to my jeans belt loops or my camera backpack loops.   This is a nice inexpensive trio that I found.  I only need the medium sized bag in this set for my restroom survival kit, but I can always find different uses for the other two.
 

 

How Do I Know I Am Not a Complete Germaphobe?


A real germaphobe would recommend two more items!  After all, the dirtiest places in a public restroom are the floors, the toilet handle, and the faucet.

Eek!  Perhaps I should rethink this!   After all, I do wear my shoes in the car and in my home!  And, those gloves and shoe covers are disposable.



And if you really want to do things right, be sure to include your Poo-Pourri! It was previously reviewed by Dawn Rae and would make a fabulous addition to your public restroom survival kit. 
 

When you are out and about, be sure to be prepared, stay safe, and "rest" protected in those public restrooms!

 




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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Review of The World is My Home: A Memoir by James Michener

Review of The World is My Home: A Memoir by James Michener
Photo of Bora Bora, a favorite place of James A. Michener, Image by WikiImages from Pixabay 



James Michener's World



James A. Michener has packed 85 of his 90 years of life and travel memories into the 577 pages of The World Is My Home. As I read his book, I felt I was there with him. He walked alone in some of the world's most beautiful places.  He traveled by air with heads of state. He ate garbage on Navy transport ships commanded by drunk captains, and he had dinner with Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt. 

By reading The World is My Home I feel I've become acquainted with James Michener. I better understand why he wrote what he did.  I was impressed not only with his skill as a writer and the breadth of his knowledge,  but also with his humility. 


The World Is My Home


 The World Is My Home is a weighty book. Within its pages you will probably find out almost anything you could want to know about James Michener, his life, his motivations, and his values. Although he felt at home anywhere in the world, he never became an expat.  He believed he needed to stay connected to his American roots to feel nourished and he didn't want to lose touch with America.

If you like stories, he tells many in this book. He also talks about his writing life and his numerous interests.  I am amazed at how much was packed into one life. I can hardly begin to scratch the surface here about the content of this encyclopedic memoir. But if you are interested in the cultures of the world, Navy life, aviation, true adventures, writing, art, music, how subjects for postage stamps are selected, travel, bull fighting, the publishing industry, United States politics behind the scenes, what it takes to be a writer, what a novelist's life is like, how much it costs a publisher to print a book, how much a best-selling author gets paid, and any number of other subjects, you will want to read this book.

Who Was James A. Michener?


One might ask, which one? Writer James A. Michener shared his name with many others. One even lived in the same town. But James really was not a Michener at all. He never knew who his parents were. He had no birth certificate. He had been taken in by a widow, Mabel Mitchener, and used her name, but her dead husband's sisters would always make sure James knew he was not a Mitchener. Until he was a young man he wondered who his parents really were, but finally accepted the fact he'd probably never know. He decided not to bother his head about it anymore.

James' Childhood


Mabel was poor. She took in laundry and sewing work to make a living. As a boy James never had what other boys his age seemed to. Once his “mother” explained why he couldn't have roller skates, a red wagon, a bicycle, or a baseball glove, he acted as though they did not exist and closed his mind to them. In spite of the poverty he lived in, though, he always felt loved.

To help out he started earning money when he was nine by harvesting chestnuts from the forest and selling them around town. When he was eleven he got his first real job with the Burpee Seed Company. It taught him to hate phlox. He worked from 7 am until 5 pm six days a week. Of this time he says: “I have sown phlox, thinned phlox, hoed phlox, gathered phlox, and heaven knows what else, and if my birthday were tomorrow and someone were to give me a bouquet of the horrid flowers, I would punch him in the nose.” He gave the $4.50 a week he earned to Mabel.

Phlox flower
Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay 


James always worked at some job. He was apprenticed to a plumber when he was still young and he was good at plumbing. He considered quitting school to become a plumber, but his Uncle Albert squashed that idea and made him quit. He said, 'James, you were not intended to be a plumber.'

Later James was a paperboy and loved it. He got to know where everyone in town lived and learned many secrets about his neighbors, as well. He delivered handbills for the theater on Saturdays in exchange for seeing the movies free. During this time he gained his first insights into the motion picture industry.

His next job was with the Willow Grove Amusement Park, a job which tested his character. It provided cheap rides, food, and four free concerts a day. The job also enabled him to make friends with Victor Herbert, John Philip Sousa, and members of the Philadelphia Orchestra who often played at the park.

Jim was a cashier for one of the rides and soon learned that management didn't care if he gave too little change for entrance fees. Stealing from customers in this way was known as 'honest cheating' and management expected and tolerated it. 'Dishonest stealing' was when cashiers stole from the company. James only tried that once, but reformed quickly when an older cashier was arrested. Soon James was removed from his regular job and asked  to substitute for suspect operators when they were absent or on breaks and report to management if he found anything fishy. Management knew he had cheated that once and then stopped cheating on his own.

Attitude Toward Wealth


Because Jim grew up poor, one might think that he'd want to become rich someday, but he was not ambitious in that way. He was content with enough to support himself and a wife. When his books won prizes and became best sellers, he was pleased, but he still lived simply and gave away what he didn't think he needed for his expenses. He used his wealth to help others. He donated most of the royalties from his books. He felt he had a debt to pay back for the free public education he had received all the way through graduate school. He wanted to assist other young people who needed financial help to get an education.

Jim didn't like to negotiate book deals or discuss print run sizes. He left that to his agent. He wasn't arrogant or greedy,  and was content to let his agent look after him financially. 

Life Purpose


One night toward the end of World War II, James came close to being in a plane crash after leaving his duties in the Fiji Islands and exploring Bora Bora. (One reason he'd been sent there was to find out why none of the enlisted men wanted to leave when it was time to go home. You'll have to read the book to find the answer to that.) He was on his way back to headquarters in French New Caledonia in the southwest Pacific. When it was time to make a sunset landing at the Tontouta Air Base, the sky got dark and visibility was low. It took three tries to finally make a safe landing. He had known the third attempt to land would be the final one. It was a close call.

Later that night he went back to the airstrip to walk and to calm his nerves. He thought about what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. He didn't come to a conclusion as to what work he wanted to do, but he decided 'I'm going to erase envy and cheap thoughts. I'm going to concentrate my life on the biggest ideals and ideas I can handle. I'm going to associate myself with people who know more than I do. I'm going to tackle objectives of moment.' He also decided that he would support the things he believed in.

It was at this point in his life he began to listen more carefully as other transients with travel orders told stories in the hotels. He looked for those with unusual experiences. He learned “what the Pacific adventure meant in human terms.” Although many complained, he believed that later, when they got back home, the ones who complained most would want to explain to others what their time in service had been like. He knew the Pacific better than almost anyone. He believed he could tell their stories more accurately than anyone else. From these stories came his first book, Tales of the South Pacific, which won a Pulitzer Prize. As you probably know, it was turned into a popular musical, South Pacific.




Michener did not like calling himself an author. He considered himself a writer. He believed good writing was “trying to use ordinary words to achieve extraordinary results.” Words fascinated him. I was happy to see he shared my appreciation for Rodale's Synonym Finder.



Should You Read This Book?


I would recommend this book to any writer who wants to learn more about writing and traditional publishing. Among other things, James was an editor at Macmillan for many years and he shares what he knows about the industry from the point of view of both writer and editor. Almost half the book is about writing.

If you are interested in travel, this book will show you most of the world. It also shows you military life during World War II.

If you are interested in art or music, you will find that James was, too. He started collecting art in postcard form early in his youth. His uncle brought him his first Victrola and some records when he was about seven. He became an opera fan and later branched out into other classical music.

If you are interested in politics, you can learn a lot from Michener. At one point in his life he ran for Congress and he takes us behind the scenes of a campaign. He didn't win, but he did get appointments to committees and we learn much about the workings of government from him. One of his committees selected who would be honored with a postage stamp. I was amazed at how controversial that was. There was pressure to honor Elvis right after his death, which was against the rule of waiting until someone had been dead for ten years. Lillian Gilbreth's family (remember Cheaper by the Dozen?) also put pressure on the committee to honor her. I enjoyed these stories.

Why Michener Wrote This Book


Jim was 85 when he wrote this book. He knew he was getting to the end of his life but he still still had the qualities that made him want to write when he was 45: "a passionate desire to communicate, to organize experience," and to tell stories.

In his own words, here's his reason for writing The World Is My Home: "I want the reader to see in careful detail the kind of ordinary human being who becomes a writer and then to see the complex and contradictory motivation that enables him to remain one."

I believe he achieved that goal. Don't miss this informative and entertaining book. Get it now while you are thinking about it. You will be glad you did. 










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Monday, February 24, 2020

Celebrate Paczki Day!

Fat Tuesday is also known as Paczki Day in Detroit! You may be wondering what a paczki is and the second most popular question is, "How do you pronounce paczki?" Both questions will be answered as we learn and review the traditional and delicious packzi!



Hamtramck And Paczki

In Southeast Michigan and probably throughout Michigan, Hamtramck and Paczki are synonymous.
When preparing for Fat Tuesday people drive many miles to Hamtramck for the traditional Polish Paczki! Fans stand in line at the bakeries early Tuesday morning to pick up their order of this delicious pastry.

Hamtramck Michigan is known as "The World In Two Square Miles" and the city "within the city " of Detroit. Hamtramck became a destination for  Polish immigrants when an auto plant was opened by the Dodge Brothers in 1914.

The city boundaries are literally within the city of Detroit. In 1970 ninety percent of the population was Polish. Through the years the demographics of the city have changed and Hamtramck is a multi cultural city which continues to celebrate the traditions of Poland. And Paczkis of course!

What Is a Paczki?

Paczki are filled pastries that resemble a  traditional American filled doughnut, but that is where the similarities end for true aficionados. I am not one to turn down any type of doughnut, but paczki are deliciously unique and different.

Supermarket versions of paczki are usually like door stoppers = not a paczek! The inside should be  light and fluffy and the outside is crispy and topped with sugar.  Traditional flavors of paczki are: Powidła (plum jam) and wild rose petal jam; but the more popular fillings are custard, lemon, strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, and apple. My personal favorite is Bavarian cream!

How Do You Say Paczki?

Poonch-kee !

What Is the Difference Between Paczki and Paczek?

A single pastry is a Paczek - Poon-check!
Many pastries are Paczki - Poonch-kee!

Paczki festivities in Hamtramck celebrate all week long including what has become a pre Fat Tuesday event the Paczki Run.


The Paczki Run


Prior to Fat Tuesday, Tour de Troit holds its' annual Paczki Run which is a 5k race highlighting the sights of Hamtramck. Traditional post race refreshments are a little different for the Paczki Run. Let's keep in mind this is a winter run in Michigan so Paczki participants are hardy braving snow, ice and wildly varying weather conditions.

Post race includes Polish music, dancers and  "paczek from New Martha Washington Bakery & New Palace Bakery and a beer from Motor City Brewing Works are served to each finisher! Na Zdrowie! "


If you are a fan of pastries and doughnuts I highly recommend the Paczki (because noone can eat just one!)

More Michigan Travel


It's not St. Patrick's Day without the traditional Wigley's Corned Beef.  Head over to Eastern Market to ensure you have the best! corned beef for St. Paddy's. 



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Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Not All Sunscreens Are Equal - Looking for A Friendly Product - My Review

Sunscreens are necessary, but make sure you are buying the right one!  Not all are created equally!  My Review!


It's the beginning of February and depending on where you call home, you just might be getting a little antsy for some warmer and more hospitable climates.  I know I will be.  So along with heading to the south, I need to think about my  wonderful other half, who is very prone to getting sun burnt.

Being a natural red-head, his skin is typically prone to burning under the rays of the sun.  We have already had a few bouts of melanoma and don't want to have any more of that.  So in order for him and me to enjoy the sun, we are fully committed to sunscreen for our health and well being.

Now, did you know that not all sunscreens are created equally?  On another trip south, we were going snorkeling off the coast of Mexico.  Our tour guides took one look at our sunscreen and would not allow us to use it.  Why not, you might ask?  Here we were out on the ocean, sun shining down on us and no sunscreen protection.  Our guides, while sympathetic to our needs, let us in on a secret.  Many sunscreens contain chemicals that are really bad for the ocean environment.

We were left with no choice.  Thank goodness that day just happened to cloud over enough that we were not left looking like overdone pieces of bacon.

This year we again are headed to the south.  We are going to Hawaii and planning on doing some Island hopping.  Needless to say, sunscreen was on our minds again.

Travelling by air nowadays, makes you follow certain safety regulations.  We are not allowed to bring lotions/liquids that contain more than 100 mls.  If you do, they will be confiscated at your boarding location.   So now we are looking for a sunscreen that is eco-friendly and comes in a size that is acceptable for all safety regulations.

Thank goodness for the Internet and Amazon.  First we did as search on acceptable sunscreens.  We love Mother Nature and don't want to add unwanted chemicals to our water.  So a search on the Internet led us to several brands of sunscreen that do no harm to the oceans.  Then we ordered from Amazon and now two days before our trip, we have what we need.  Two tubes of sunscreen with less than 100 mls in each tube.



One tube of sunscreen for my other half and one for me and our bags are packed.  There will be no sunburns on this vacation, just good memories waiting to be made.  And with an SPF of 50, we should be able to do lots of walking, swimming, and just soaking up the sunshine without worry.  Now that makes for a happy holiday.









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Thursday, December 26, 2019

Explore St Louis - Visit Missouri- Review of Zoo Lights

The St. Louis area has many beautiful light displays during the month of December and one of my favorites is the Zoo Lights.
On a chilly night in mid December my friend and I spent an evening at the St. Louis Zoo enjoying the lights and taking photographs.  We had never been there before and wasn't sure what to expect, but we were pleasantly surprised.  We spent about 1 1/2 hours out in the park enjoying the lights before we went inside to warm up with some hot chocolate.  In that time we didn't even begin to see all the beautiful lights.  The displays were wonderful and all focused around the animals in each particular area.  

Information about Zoo Lights

The Zoo Lights display is open from Thanksgiving through December 30th.  It starts at 5:30 each night and there is a nominal fee for entrance which includes free parking.  What a wonderful way to celebrate the holidays with family and friends.  Besides enjoying the lights you can was a 3D movie of Rudolph the Reindeer, roast marshmallows over fire pits, enjoy hot chocolate and other snacks at several stands around the park and have your photo taken at several different displays.

Photographic Tour

I enjoy taking photographs and shooting the zoo lights was a real pleasure.  I found that I was able to get wonderful shots without a flash.  I hope you enjoy my photographic tour.








Zazzle Poster from my Photos




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Saturday, October 26, 2019

Restaurant Review of Go Fish Marina Bar and Grill


On the banks of the Mississippi River in Princeton, Iowa sits a delightful and delicious restaurant called Go Fish Marina Restaurant and Bar. Or simply “Go Fish” as the locals call it. 



Go Fish is built up on stilts like a lot of coastal property due to flooding. It has a good size indoor seating area, a bar, and a lovely outdoor deck.  The deck has tables with umbrellas and a covered Cabana. The restaurant bar also opens to the outside deck. 



On warm days, the outside deck is an especially delightful place to eat ~ the food is very good and the scenery is charming.  Last week my son & I had a birthday lunch there. The sun was shining, the sky cloudless, the temperature a warm Fall day, and the river mesmerizing to watch. A very pleasant and peaceful place to eat. 


Go Fish Menu


The menu has a wide variety of options with many items made from scratch with fresh and local ingredients. The dishes range from chicken to steak to seafood, and from pork chops to burgers.  

The Go Fish Cowboy Burger is a filling treat. It's a half-pound of flame-grilled Black Angus Iowa Beef topped with pepperjack cheese, crispy bacon, sauteed mushrooms and onions. 

The pork chops are wonderful. They are the Iowa Pork Chops our area is known for. I've never had better pork anywhere – not just that served in restaurants, but any you buy at the grocery stores. Iowa pork is terrific!  

On this particular day, I had the batter fried fish & chips and they were delicious. Their 'chips' (french fries) are listed as Crispy Battered Fries and they were outstanding! The fish consisted of two good sized Haddock filets and the batter was fantastic. Served with cole slaw, the fish & chips was a very tasty dish for sure. 

Oh, did I mention the desserts? Homemade ice cream and Key Lime Pie.

Check out the Go Fish Menu here for more culinary delights. 


Go Fish Location


The Go Fish Marina Bar & Grill is located at 411 River Drive in Princeton, Iowa. They also state that they are located in Pool 14 of the Mississippi River at Mile Marker 502. That terminology is new to me (being a new Iowa resident), but I looked it up. The term Pool (or Navigation Pool) is used to describe the area between navigation dams on the Mississippi River. For instance, Pool 1 begins in the Upper Mississippi River at St. Paul, Minnesota. 



Most probably the reason Go Fish specifies the river location on their website is because you can approach by river, dock your boat and walk up to the restaurant. 

Their operating hours are seven days a week year round. 


  • Mon-Thu : 11am-10pm
  • Fri-Sat: 11am-11pm
  • Sun: 11am-9pm 



Summary



So if you find yourself traveling through Iowa or taking a boat ride up or down the Mississippi River, consider stopping at Go Fish Marina Bar & Grill for lunch or dinner. The restaurant is only a few miles north of the Quad Cities almost straight over from Chicago. Dining on the banks of the Mississippi is a charming experience. 

If  you do not live near rivers, lakes or oceans where you can enjoy delightful 'dockside dining', create your own at home with the delicious recipes in these cookbooks.




For more food and restaurant reviews, check out 


Quick Links:

Go Fish Marina Bar & Grill website
Go Fish Marina Bar & Grill Menu

More Places to see in Iowa: Field of Dreams

(c) Wednesday Elf 10/26/2019

*Photos & Photo Collages Created by Wednesday Elf 






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Thursday, October 24, 2019

Review of New Wheel at St. Louis Union Station

The Wheel at St. Louis Union Station was opened on September 30th, 2019 to help celebrate the 125th anniversary of Union Station.


Facts about the Wheel

  • 200 foot high observation wheel
  • 42 fully enclosed and climate controlled gondolas that each seat 6 adults
  • 3-4 rotations high above the St. Louis skyline during the 15 minute ride
  • The wheel is  now open from 10 am to 10 pm till October 31st when the hours will be changed to noon to 10 pm for the rest of 2019


My Experience on the Wheel

When my granddaughters visited in mid October, I decided to take them to Union Station to ride on the new "Wheel" that had just opened in late September.  In the photo above you see my friend DeAnn, my sister Julie and my granddaughters Ella and Rachel waiting for their turn on the wheel.

I had seen on the news that there could be rather long waits to ride the wheel, but the day we went we were able to walk right up, buy our tickets and ride the wheel when it stopped for the next rotation.  It was a rather chilly day but the gondolas on the wheel are all climate controlled so it was nice and warm.  There were five of us in our gondola and we had plenty of room to be comfortable and even move around a bit so I could get photos from all angles.

I am sometimes a little leery of heights but this  did not bother me at all.  I felt very secure in the enclosed gondola and thoroughly enjoyed the views of the city.  It was a cloudy day so I'm sure you would see more on a clearer day but I still thought it was fantastic.  I would like to go back at nighttime and take photos of the city lights from up on the "Wheel".


Views from the Wheel

This is the view looking east.  Directly in front you see the Enterprise Center where the Blues play.  Farther in the background you get a glimpse of the Gateway Arch. Also if you look close on the far right side of the photo you see the red brick of Busch Stadium where the Cardinals play.

This view is to the north/east.  Here you see the tops of the old train depot  and the red roof of the top of Union Station.
This view is looking to the south.

Information about St. Louis Union Station


St. Louis Union Station was first open to the public on September 1, 1894.  At one time it was the biggest and busiest train terminal in the country.  It is on the registry as a National Historic Landmark.  Today it is being renovated as a family entertainment complex.

Inside of Union Station you will find the St. Louis Union Station Hotel.  A beautiful hotel that serves guests from out of town along with many meetings, weddings and other celebrations of St. Louis residents.

The Grand Hall is a wonderful meeting place for people.  It is beautiful and the architecture is truly amazing. After our ride aboard the "Wheel"  we visited the Grand Hall and as we stopped to rest at one of their many comfortable seating areas the lights dimmed, we heard a sound of a train coming, and then a fantastic 15 minute 3D light show began.  We weren't expecting it so we were pleasantly surprised.  Beautiful music played and the ceiling was transformed with an different light scenes.  The photos below show two of the scenes.



More to do at St. Louis Union Station

There are several places to eat in the complex and we chose to stop at the new Soda Fountain Restaurant which also opened on September 30th.  It features "Freak Shakes, Boozy Shakes and Remedies".  We were however a bit cold to try the shakes so we enjoyed their delicious cheeseburgers and fries.  They also have a gift shop and a candy counter with lots of barrels and bins of old fashioned candies.

The outdoor area at Union Station also includes a carousel, a mini golf course and in the evenings a fire and light show with dancing lights, water and fire.

A big coming attraction for Union Station will be the 120,000 square foot St. Louis Acquarium.  It was under  construction while we were there but should be open by the end of 2019.  




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Friday, October 18, 2019

The Memphis Zoo Review

A Zoo You Must See!

The Memphis Zoo Review - Red Panda Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse
The Memphis Zoo is definitely worth the drive! No matter where we go on vacation, we always take a day to visit that city's zoo.

From Florida to Hawaii we have visited zoos across the U.S.  By far, my favorite zoo is in Memphis, TN.  

The city of Memphis may be home of the Blues, Beale Street, Elvis, Graceland, Sun Studios and the Mississippi River Bluffs, but I would add the Memphis Zoo to their list of places you must see when you visit. As a matter of fact, if you ask me, it should be at the top of the list!

If you find yourself traveling through Mississippi, Arkansas or Tennessee, I would highly recommend a side trip to Memphis for a day at the zoo. 


Entrance of the Memphis Zoo at Christmas - Photo by Sylvestermouse
Entrance of the Memphis Zoo at Christmas


Entrance to the Memphis Zoo


Before you even buy your ticket and enter the zoo, you are greeted by Egyptian style architecture which is in and of itself a vision.  There are large concrete animals in rows out front where we saw parents taking pictures of their children proudly "riding" the animals.

This is your first indication of the adventure that awaits you inside the gates of the Memphis Zoo.



Tigers in Cat Country at the Memphis Zoo

The Memphis Zoo Review - Tigers in Cat Country Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse



Cat Country at the Memphis Zoo


The Memphis Zoo Review - White Tiger Photo by Sylvestermouse
White Bengal Tiger Photo by Sylvestermouse
You Can Learn More about Bengal Tigers at Amazing Wild Animals
This is one of the areas that make the Memphis Zoo spectacular. These gorgeous cats are not behind bars! They are in open fields created to mimic their natural habitat. Believe me, these "cats" can definitely make you feel like you are the prey in an African savanna with just a look.

Cat Country is the home of some of the most beautiful specimen of big cats. In addition to tigers, lions, leopards, cheetahs, and jaguar, this is also the area for a red panda, a gorgeous lynx and a family of meerkats, which are my daughter's personal favorite.

If you want to go on an African Safari for a reasonable price, this is the place for you! 

The Memphis Zoo Review - Meerkat Photo by Sylvestermouse
Meerkat Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse
Click Here for Meerkat Facts & Photos


Animals of the Night at the Memphis Zoo


The Memphis Zoo Review - Cacomistle photo by Sylvestermouse
Cacomistle Photo by Sylvestermouse
This is where I first fell in love with a vampire. Step aside "Twilight", the bat was here first!

There are so many wonderful creatures in this house. This exhibit is full of nocturnal animals. I doubt we even saw them all. In addition to the bats, they have an Aardvark, a Mole Rat, a few Porcupine, several different species of Loris, a Sloth, a Wombat, a Cuscus and a lot of other night time beauties. I have never seen a better nocturnal exhibit anywhere.


The Komodo Dragon at the Memphis Zoo

The Memphis Zoo Review - Komodo Dragon Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse
Komodo Dragon Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse

This dude is huge!  He made me feel like I was on exhibit for him instead of the reverse.

While the Komodo Dragon is not normally dangerous to humans, it was obvious to me that he eats mammals. Ironically, I was not the least bit intimidated by any of the big cats or the bears, but this guy scared the dickens out of me.

But don't worry, he has a gigantic fan club. I'm just not a member. 


Tropical Bird House at the Memphis Zoo


Memphis Zoo Review - Bird House Photos by Cynthia Sylvestermouse
This is another house where we could spend hours. So many beautiful birds and so little time. 

The colors on these birds are so bright & vivid.

Seeing them up close truly is better than seeing them through binoculars. In spite of the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed seeing them up close, I honestly had the desire to set them all free, but logically I know that they are healthy and well cared for by their keepers at the Memphis Zoo.

While there are lots of gorgeous birds behind glass enclosures for one to view up close, the fabulous attraction in this house is the vast open room with trees and water literally filled with birds. The sounds and sights in this area are breathtaking.

This really is a birdwatchers fantasy come true! 

Nicobar Pigeon

(Do you see the little Yellow Headed Blackbird in the background left?)



Hippos at the Memphis Zoo


The Memphis Zoo Review - Hippopotamus Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse
Hippos can be viewed daily at the Memphis Zoo. These awesome Hippos recently moved into their new home, "Zambezi River Hippo Camp" 

This section of the zoo also features other animals found near the Zambezi River such as the Nile Crocodile and Okapi.
Memphis Zoo guests are able to enjoy seeing hippos both on land and below water.

Did you know that Hippos are considered the deadliest animals in Africa?  You can find out why by visiting Amazing Wild Animals!


Aquarium at the Memphis Zoo


This is another building one could explore for hours. The Aquarium is home to 156 species of marine and freshwater organisms from around the world.  The Memphis Zoo currently breeds and exhibits two species of cichlid that are extinct in the wild.

If fish, turtles, or aquatic wildlife are your passion, this is the place to be!


The Memphis Zoo Review - Aquarium Photos by Cynthia Sylvestermouse


Herpetarium at the Memphis Zoo


The Memphis Zoo Review - Poison Dart Frog Photo by Sylvestermouse
If I ever lost my son at the zoo, the Herpetarium is where I could find him. This building is literally packed with frogs, spiders, snakes, lizards and small alligators.

While there are plenty of faces crowding around the snakes, I am glad to say that we crowd around the frogs. The colors on frogs are so bright and vivid. It is hard to choose, but I think our favorite would be the Poison Dart Frog.

However, the Memphis Zoo is reknowned for being the first zoo to successfully breed the endangerd Mississippi Gopher Frog.   The Memphis Zoo has produced 93 Mississippi gopher tadpoles, a number nearly matching the 100 frogs still living in the wild.


 

Penguin Rock, Round Barn & Once Upon a Farm


The Memphis Zoo Review - Penguin Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse
These are a few areas that little children especially enjoy. My daughter would never allow us to visit a zoo without locating the penquin. She adores the little "tuxedo" babies and believe me, there are plenty of penguin on Penguin Rock.

Close by is the Round Barn, an exhibit of smaller exotic hoofstock and birds. It is the home of the gazelles and warthog.

"Once Upon a Farm" is an exhibit where visitors can learn about the basics of farm life. This area is built to resemble a farm in the 1900's. They even have a working well that pumps up fresh water and everyone can enjoy a ride an old-fashioned train around the exhibit. 


China Exhibit at the Memphis Zoo


The Memphis Zoo - Panda Photo by Cynnthia Sylvestermouse
The Memphis Zoo has built a big, beautiful home for the Giant Panda Bears. 

As you enter through the gates of the China exhibit, you follow a path that leads to Ya Ya and Le Le, but long before you get to them, there are huge ponds of fish, a variety of birds, ducks and several other species native to China. There is even a little Otter. 

No question the Panda's are fantastic, but the other animals in this "house" are fascinating as well. 

The Memphis Zoo Review - Asian Small-Clawed Otter
Learn All About the Asian Small-Clawed Otter on AmazingWildAnimals.com


Primate Canyon at the Memphis Zoo


Primate Canyon is another area that features naturalistic, outdoor exhibits. This large open area is home for a variety of monkeys and apes. Monkeys, Orangutans and Gorillas abound in this exhibit.
Primate Canyon is in the center of the zoo. As a result of its location, you call hear the monkeys howling throughout the park. It opened in 1995 and has been a top favorite of Zoo visitors ever since.


Butterfly Garden


The Memphis Zoo - Luna Moth photo by Sylvestermouse
This extraordinary Butterfly Garden is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. It is absolutely filled with gorgeous flowers graced by lovely butterflies. Some were so exquisite that they didn't even look real, but they were definitely alive.

Not only did we see hundreds of butterflies, but my son found a Luna Moth. Because a Luna Moth has such a short life, it is rare to sight one. Clearly, seeing the Luna Moth was the highlight of our visit to the Memphis Zoo.



African Veldt at the Memphis Zoo


The Memphis Zoo Review - Giraffes Photo By Cynthia Sylvestermouse
The African Veldt is an area dedicated to Giraffes, Rhinos, Zebras, & Elephants.

We were there at just the right time to see the whole Giraffe family. Mother, father & baby giraffe all came out to eat while we were standing in front of their enclosure. While the baby may not be little next to one of us, she was absolutely dwarfed by her parents.

The African Veldt is where the ostrich and the antelope play. Okay, I admit it, this is usually the point where I start singing "home, home on the range."  Seriously, you know those little antelope look like deer.

Oh, well, at least Memphians are accustomed to various styles of musical talent and my family learned decades ago to either laugh with me or to ignore me.

The Memphis Zoo Review
Grant's Gazelles & Bongo Antelopes (laying down)



White-Naped Crane Photo by Sylvestermouse
White-Naped Crane

World of Waterfowl


This area is a more peaceful area than the rest of the zoo. It is aptly named because there are indeed a world of waterfowl!

There are two bridges to walk across and watch beautiful Swans,
Pink Flamingos or a variety of geese and ducks swimming or view a Crane just standing around.

The area around the waterfowl lake is lovely too. It would make a great background spot for photos. I have often imagined a wedding party enjoying this wonderful opportunity for outstanding and original pictures. Or, perhaps, an anniversary party.

Like all of the photos in this article, the picture of the White-Naped Crane is from my own personal photo album. I was thrilled to be able to snap this shot! 


Northwest Passage at the Memphis Zoo


Memphis Zoo Review - Polar Bear Swimming Photo by Sylvestermouse
He is Almost Close Enough to Touch!
Another one of my favorite exhibits at the Memphis Zoo is the Northwest Passage. In this exhibit there is an air conditioned, indoor viewing area where you can watch the Polar Bears swim. There are even a few stadium benches for you to sit and rest a while.

The Polar Bears are beautiful. Who would ever imagine such a large bear could be so graceful when it swims? These giant animals seem so playful and cuddly when you have a thick piece of Plexiglas between you and them. What a magnificent way to enjoy the company of bears.

Northwest Passage is also the home for the sea lion observation bubble and a 500-seat amphitheater for daily sea lion shows.
Outside the viewing area, are the Bald Eagles and the Ravens. Both of my children "talked" to the Ravens and they answered. They are beautiful, majestic birds with attitude.

This is also the area of the Black Bear. I loved this beautiful, big pawed, pacing baby! I would swear he was waving to me every time he lifted his big paw to turn around. 

I've been back to the Memphis Zoo several times since this photo was taken.  I always go by to visit this guy.  I think he is probably my favorite animal in the zoo.

The Memphis Zoo Review - Black Bear Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse


Teton Trek at the Memphis Zoo


The Memphis Zoo - Teton Trek Building Photo by Sylvestermouse
Home of the real Memphis Grizzly! 

In February, 2008, the Memphis Zoo began construction of the zoo's gorgeous Teton Trek exhibit. The four-acre Teton Trek exhibit is now home for animals native to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem such as Grizzly Bears, Elk, Gray Wolves, Trumpeter Swans and Sandhill Crane.

I was among the guests at the Teton Trek in the Memphis Zoo the very first week it opened. Let me tell you, it is the most beautiful zoo exhibit I have ever seen, arguably the most beautiful in the world!

The entrance to the Teton Trek lodge is not only inviting, it is charming with a rustic appeal befitting it's occupants. A lovely 25 foot geyser greets visitors and even allows children, or adults, to cool off in it's spray and surrounding pool.

The Great Lodge, itself, is a two-story, 5000 sq. foot multi-purpose building suited for a gathering or dinner party and features a fabulous large fireplace. A spacious upper mezzanine provides a photo and artifact area that leads to a outside deck for animal viewing at a safe distance.

The Memphis Zoo Review - Teton Trek Lodge Photo by Sylvestermouse


For the truly adventurous, you are free to walk around the actual grounds via the boardwalk. It is extremely safe, so fear not! Don't miss the opportunity to walk through the entire park.

The Memphis Zoo Review - Grizzly Bear Photo by Cynthia Sylvestermouse


Read More about the Teton Trek at the Memphis Zoo

  • Teton Trek at the Memphis Zoo
    I absolutely love zoos! My all time favorite zoo is in Memphis, TN. They have been improving and adding new addtiions to the Memphis Zoo for years. Every time I go, it is like a new adventure. Their most recent addition, called Teton Trek,...



The Photos in this article are the Exclusive Property of ©Sylvestermouse.
Please Do Not Copy, Reproduce or Use the Photos without the written permission of Sylvestermouse Cynthia.

Many of the photos are available for purchase at Zazzle.com if you would like to own a legal copy.

The Photos by Sylvestermouse Available for Purchase at Zazzle.com



 
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