holoholo photo

The Houston Zoo

During our recent trip to Houston, I decided to take advantage of their CityPass and made a visit to the Houston Zoo. I have a love/hate relationship with zoos, but this post will be simply about the photos.

Even before I got into the zoo I was taking photos of rare animals (well…rare in Maui).

Once in the zoo, I went right to the main attraction, the Asian elephants. Along with larger males and females, there were a few young elephants that were beyond cute. They were lively, rubbing on things to scratch their itches, throwing sand on their backs, and running circles around their mothers. I’m guessing they are very much like human children, when they crash, they must crash hard.


The meerkats were pretty active in the morning, so it was fun to watch the dynamics of the colony on display. This one was the lookout, while everyone else scoured the grass for critters.

The capybara was not amused. 

This hornbill was given mouse treats as I walked by, so I watched him/her throw the mouse up in the air and swallow it whole. Pretty efficient way of eating a delicious varmint snack. 

I probably could have sat and watched the gorillas and chimpanzees all day. They seem to not care most of the time, but every now and again they will look right at you and you cannot deny that there is a connection.

When I got to the ostriches/giraffes enclosure, it was nap time for the ostriches. It was fun to watch them nod off, and their head was so heavy on their neck that they would begin to droop down, until it got to the point where they caught themselves and woke up. It was like watching travelers in the airport or on a plane nod off.

I was able to see lions, a tiger, but the bears were too shy. I caught a glimpse of one of the two black bears, but was unable to get a photo. I took a few shots of the tiger, but was not happy with any of the results, so I won’t be sharing.

Slightly disappointing, but at the same time very exciting was the realization that the Houston Zoo has a nene goose on display. You can find it in the flamingo paddock, amongst the flamingos and ducks. Unfortunately they have zero signage or any information among the posted placards that they even had a nene goose, nor any mention to the significance of it being Hawaii’s state bird, or that it is considered an endangered species.

I will be addressing this oversight in a future letter to the zoo. Are heads of zoos considered game wardens, curators, or simply a director? I wonder.

This river otter was in a super playful mood. It kept running up the grass slope, sliding down on its belly, and then standing on its back feet while placing its front paws on the glass wall to play with the kids behind the glass. The kids would jump back and squeal, and the otter would run away to repeat the procedure. It was a blast to watch.

Since I was on my own and in no rush, I was able to wait out the throngs of school groups that would crowd the exhibits at intervals. The Houston Zoo was well worth the price of admission, and it was a nice way to spend three or four hours on my own with my camera, while Emily was at her conference. I simply paid the $1.25 to ride the metro light rail south from downtown and got off at the Memorial Hermann Hospital/Houston Zoo stop. From that stop was about a quarter mile of a walk to the zoo.