Let's begin with the Cats of Africa exhibit:
The Cats of Africa exhibit (opened in March 2003) is built on a hillside with a small viewing pavilion near the top. It can also be seen while on the Zoo Train ($5 non-members) which we'll come to at another time.
Chadwick: male, born September 1998, weighs 385 pounds
Gingerbread: female, weighs 228 pounds
Kadi: born at Smithsonian's National Zoo (Washington, D.C.) in 2010; arrived at the Santa Barbara Zoo in 2012
Neema: born at Smithsonian's National Zoo (Washington, D.C.) in 2010; arrived at the Santa Barbara Zoo in 2012
The Viewing Areas:
The Zoo recommends a visit to the northern pavilion (near the Giraffe Observation Deck) however this is probably one of my least favorite spots in the zoo for two reasons.
1 - plexiglass. It is almost impossible to get a decent photograph.
2 - too small a space. There was a feeding and talk on the day I was at the zoo and like bees to honey so came the swarms of tourists and visitors eager for a good view.
Unfortunately I witnessed two kids get trampled by the adults who wanted the best view and they had to be rescued by their parents peeling people off the children. Also, a woman at the time I was there claimed that someone hit her in the back vying for a better viewing spot. (DANGEROUS)
|The Lion Viewing Pavilion. (c) The Joyous Living.|
|Gingerbread the Lion. (c) The Joyous Living.|
On my particular train ride, I saw both Gingerbread and Chadwick resting in the shade. There was no plexiglass separating us nor were there rows of tourists in front of me vying for a better viewing spot. The only bummer is that because you are on a train, you won't have all day to just stand there and marvel at these glorious beauties. But if you are looking for a view this is the best option.
|Chadwick the Lion. (c) The Joyous Living.|
For exact feeding times and talks, please check the hand-written clapboard near the zoo's main entrance.
Zoo Tickets: $10-$17
Train Tickets: $5 (non-member); $4 (member)
Parking (in the zoo's lot): $7 (non-member); 1 free car (member)
Zoo Address: 500 Ninos Drive, Santa Barbara, CA 93103
What are your favorite animals to visit at the zoo?