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Blank Park Zoo
March 25, 2013 - Mike Donahey
A Saturday trip to Des Moines included a visit to Blank Park Zoo. Yes, the zoo. And why not? While the day was a chilly and cloudy one, my better half and youngest daughter — the later home for several days courtesy of spring break — wanted to see the “big cats” and I cheerfully obliged.
It was well worth the visit. And others had the same idea. There were couples and families there as well. Of course, not nearly as many as during peak season, which we found to our liking. There was no waiting in lines and we could linger at various spots to our heart’s delight. The lions, prairie dogs, red pandas, sea lions, tigers and snow leopard were all entertaining. The snow leopard’s thick, long bushy tail seemingly could stretch the distance between Marshalltown and State Center. The leopard wisely uses it like a blanket, my wife said. Not all animals — especially those from tropical climates like giraffes and elephants — were out for obvious reasons.
We found zoos to be a good bargain when our daughters were toddlers. The admission and concession expenses were affordable and there was always something exciting to see and learn. Over the years we visited zoos in Chicago, Milwaukee the Twin Cities and elsewhere.
Upon moving to Marshalltown we became acquainted with Blank Park Zoo and have been favorably impressed to return repeatedly for birthdays and special occasions. They continually add new exhibits and the facility is user friendly. Check it out — even if the weather feels like winter and the calendar calls for spring.