Category

Art in America

America's oldest zoo American Zoo Exhibits American Zoos Animals at the Philadelphia Zoo Art Exhibits Art in America Arts and Entertainment Exhibits The Philadelphia Zoo Visit the Philadelphia Zoo What's happening at the Philadelphia Zoo? Zoo Exhibits

America’s Oldest Zoo Up Close

  • By
  • July 8, 2018
Philadelphia Zoo exhibits

An Afternoon at The Philadelphia Zoo

Celebrate Animals, Watch, Listen, and Learn 

America’s oldest zoo has always been one of my favorite “go-to” places as a child, adult, and parent. I’m referring to The Philadelphia Zoo, an urban animal paradise that opened on July 1, 1874, in the city’s Centennial District on the west bank of the Schuylkill River.

Philadelphia Zoo Primates
I’m convinced large primates love to put on a show for their guests. The primate habitat is always one of my first stops. Photos by Joan Mead-Matsui

A visit to The Philadelphia Zoo is sheer pleasure. Even if you are not a fan of zoos, it’s a destination you and your child should experience together. After all, many children might never have an opportunity to catch a glimpse of and observe animals from around the world in a safe setting. The zoo houses at last count almost 1,300 animals and many are rare and endangered species. More than 1.2 million visitors come through the gates every year to watch, learn, and be entertained. One of the zoo’s primary goals is to educate children and adults about animal and environmental conservation. The world’s premier animal travel and exploration trail system, Zoo360, provides animals with ample space to roam and is one of the most thoughtfully-designed zoo attractions I’ve seen. If you go, small primates swinging from treetop to treetop, large primates eager to entertain and keep an eye on the crowds below, and the lions, tigers, jaguars, pumas, and other big cats are among the species you’ll discover. Need a break from the sun, you can seek refuge indoors in “The Reptile and Amphibian House,” opened in 1875 and regarded as the United States oldest zoo building.

Throughout the zoo’s 42-acre campus, you’ll find a variety of animal exhibits and each one is designed with a personalized experience in mind.  Many of the exhibits allow you and your children to stand within several inches – close enough to watch the residents interact with their peers. Children giggling at the primates’ shenanigans, lions basking in the sun, and the busy giraffe foraging for food are recurring scenes. 

What’s the best time to visit the zoo?

If you have young children, from birth to pre-school, schedule your visit for late spring, early summer, and fall mornings. You probably won’t find the large crowds you might encounter during peak summer hours and you’ll avoid long ticket lines at the gate.  If you don’t so you can watch the animals feed but if the kids have the zoo at the top of their priority list, you’re guaranteed a top-notch learning environment throughout most of the year. From mid-day until mid-afternoon, you could find some or maybe most of the animals napping so you’ll need to plan your day with your own goals in mind.

Philadelphia Zoo Current Exhibits
Obey rules and policies established to protect you and the animals you’ll discover at The Philadelphia Zoo. Be prepared to meet the resident geese who aren’t shy about begging for food.

Two New Exhibits You Won’t Want to Miss

The Philadelphia Zoo has added, “Penguin Point” and “Water is Life” to its list of incredible new exhibits since my last visit. Giant otters, Humboldt penguins, and red pandas are among the characters you’ll meet in a natural setting.

“Monkey Junction,” “PECO Primate Reserve,” and the “Reptile and Amphibian House” are three existing exhibits I never miss during my visits to the zoo. A snake sighting sends chills up my spine but yet, I can’t keep my eyes off them. Watching them make their way from water to land is an opportunity to study their lifestyle.

FEED WHEN THE ANIMALS FEED

There is typically an on-site dining area within close proximity in case you want to break for a meal or snack while the animals are feeding or napping. Watching them graze or gobble down their meals might trigger your hunger pangs and zoo cuisine has evolved to include a wide variety of choices for young and old alike.

The name, “Mane Fare,” encompasses the selection of eateries located throughout the grounds. Tiger Terrace, Eagles Roost, World Tacos are three of your food and beverage choices that offer palette-pleasing meals from pizza, burgers, chicken,  and tacos, and other staples most picky eaters will try.  Visitors who have not experienced the famous Philadelphia pretzel sold by street vendors throughout the city, you can find a slightly modified version in the pretzel bites sold at the “Philly Pretzel Factory.” You and your family should not leave the City of Brotherly Love before you experience a pretzel and cheesesteak.

Eating your meals with a clear view of an exhibit is part of the fun associated with a day at The Philadelphia Zoo.  Hours and availability vary seasonally so be sure to check the zoo’s website for more information.  Among other perks, zoo members receive a 10 percent discount on food and beverage throughout the park.

Let’s Talk Conservation

Zoos have gotten a bad rap over the years from organizations that believe animals should be allowed to roam free in their indigenous habitats but when conservation and preservation of species are the main focus, species that might otherwise be extinct due to illegal hunting and poaching are protected, a zoo offers a solution.  The Philadelphia Zoo has a conservation program in place that offers many of our world’s most endangered species a program that allows them to thrive, procreate, and also educate visitors. You can learn more about conservation and protection plans in place at  https://www.philadelphiazoo.org/Animals/Most-Endangered-Animals.htm or visit the “Rare Animal Conservation Center.” 

Not surprisingly, my sons who are now teenagers, enjoy a trip to the zoo and partly because we made a zoo visit part of many family vacations we’ve taken since they were infants. My oldest son accompanied me to The Philadelphia Zoo during my a recent assignment. I hope you’ll plant a seed of love and respect for animals and all mankind.

Disclosure:

My admission to The Philadelphia Zoo was comped but my opinions are my own.

 

No Comments
Art in America Artists' Interviews California Artists Interviews Lifestyle Sculpture in America

Randy Morgan: Sculpture Drawn from Nature

  • By
  • June 24, 2018
Randy Morgan Sculptor Nature
Randy Morgan Sculpture
Randy Morgan is an award-winning bronze sculpture artist who specializes in handcrafted bronze doors, architectural elements, and public art pieces. Photos submitted by the artist.

Burning With A Passion for the Arts

An Interview with Randy Morgan

Randy Morgan Sculpture
In addition to designing custom doors and tiles, Randy receives commissions for works of art.

Home and business owners and organizations looking to make a bold, creative statement will be astounded by the depth of detailing  Randy Morgan incorporates into each of his sculptures. Randy is an award-winning bronze sculpture artist who specializes in handcrafted bronze doors, architectural elements, and public art pieces. His works are inspired by his love for nature, history and unique art mediums.

In addition to designing custom doors and tiles, Randy receives commissions for works of art and a few of those are a bronzed wall depicting the history and natural beauty of the Sacramento River region for the Lundberg Family Farms visitors’ center; “The Waterman’s Wall” – a bronzed mural depicting local coastal heroes enjoying a day in the life for the City of Laguna Beach, California; and, a colorful mural celebrating the region’s agricultural heritage for the City of Upland, California.

Meet Randy Morgan

I interviewed Randy by email and understand why art enthusiasts fall madly in love with his work. If his sculptures strike a chord with you, feel free to comment and share this interview.

How does sculpture enhance our landscape and interact with nature?

Sculpture is innately drawn from the shapes and images of nature. Have you ever stared at a pile of rocks until they became dancing gnomes or clouds? Plus the patinas (colors) that are used in sculpture are basically stains and all derivatives of earth tones and more natural colors than paint.

Randy Morgan Interview Nature Sculpture
“Art is my life,” Randy Morgan noted.

What’s the number one reason you chose sculpture as your medium?

As far back as I can remember, I have burned with a passion for the arts. My talents were first recognized at five-years-old by my teacher when she entered my “Painting of a Horse” at the LA County Fair where it won 1st place and a blue ribbon. As a child, my father would bring home large rolls of paper from his print shop and quickly find me immersed in a drawing project. I would spend hour upon hour drawing landscapes and portraits of my sports heroes, cowboys, and Indians.

Destiny eventually paired me with Carl Abel, a world-renowned wood carver in Laguna Beach, California. Abel took an interest in my artistic sense and taught me the ancient art. In 1975, I took a life-changing trip to Mexico where I studied art and was drawn to the works of Diego Rivera and Jorge Orosco. Over the next several years, I combined Abel’s techniques with my own evolving artistic sense and a newfound love for bronze casting. I soon found his works gracing residential, commercial and public arenas throughout the world. Although very satisfied with drawing and painting, when I found sculpture I was thrilled to take my drawing to the next level. Being a child I loved building things and getting dirty. I have been called one of the world’s premiere bas-relief sculptors. The definition of bas-relief is drawing in sculpture so it was just a natural progression for me from drawing and painting.

What percentage of your sculpture is created with nature in mind?

 All of it. Art to me is a mimicking of our universe and the natural world. I create my art with the viewer in mind and trying to evoke some sort of feeling or emotional response.

What are a few of your upcoming projects and what are you working on now?

I am concentrating now on my “Road Map of Art Walls” which are a series of large bas-relief murals that tell a historical story in the communities in which they are placed. Whether it’s icons, the characters, the flora and fauna, the historical landmarks and the stories therein. We round out the story of the making of the art through the magic of film making. You can check these out on my web page at www.randymorganart.com I am currently working on a public art monument in Laguna Beach, California, a Motown industrialization mural in Detroit, Michigan, early next year a wall mural in San Diego, California and we are always evaluating future sites with my fantastic team at Randy Morgan Art.

What motivates you to create on days when you don’t feel particularly creative?

Some days you just have to chop wood (ha ha!) Seriously I love making art. It’s what I do and what I love to do. These days I try to balance my life with my spirituality, my art, and a lot of laughter and the quest for joy and peace.

How does art fit into your life?

Without sounding too cliche, art is my life. Art to me is hard work, planning and a leaving little bit of room at the end of the process for magic.

What’s your all-time favorite project? 

The next one! That’s a tough question it’s like choosing between your children. If I had to just pick one it would have to be the Art Hotel project in Laguna Beach, CA for my friend Gail Duncan at her hotel. This 70 by 10 foot mural around the pool is pure Laguna Beach. I would like to add that we as artists need art patrons. Without art, patrons to share our vision with there would be no Sistine Chapel. I could not have created a single mural on my “Roadmap of Walls” without the support of art patrons. I have been fortunate enough to collaborate with some really extraordinary art patrons without whom my “Roadmap of Art Walls would not be possible.

Artists who would like to be featured on my websites (https://joanmatsuitravelwriter.com, https://chigirie.com, and https://jstockphotos.com should send a bio, at least five (malware and virus-free) images, an artist’s statement, and a list of recent projects. Interviews will be conducted by email, unless otherwise determined, and the posts will be published at my convenience and according to my editorial calendar.

No Comments

advertisement

Copyright © 2017 Joan Matsui . All rights reserved