Travel reviews by
The Maryland Zoo
Based on 262 traveler reviews
Oct 26, 2014 by: vaayla from Maryland
I've been going to this zoo for 30+ years, so the nostalgia factor is high for me. Having pictures of my kids in the same exact place and position as myself (eg, the birds' nests and insertable turtles, haha) is a lot of fun. That being said, the zoo itself is so-so. There's a lot of walking (I outvoted my husband on taking the shuttle on the way in, but gratefully accepted his suggestion on the way out). The exhibits aren't bad, but they're nothing to write home about. There were more exhibits open today than there were the last couple times we were there, and the trees were absolutely beautiful. (Definite plus for this time of year.) We were told we'd missed the arctic fox changing her colors by only a couple weeks. The new penguin exhibit was nice. The polar bear bus (thing?) is always neat for the kids. The otters were adorably and unusually active, and even the giraffes were all hanging around outside for once. It's not a big zoo, although it's deceptive to say that - the grounds themselves are largish (hence all the walking), but many of the displays and exhibits are spaced out, which gives the impression that it's smaller. That does, however, give everything a natural, woodsy feel, like the zoo is working around the landscaping instead of vice versa, at least in the "local wildlife" areas. At any rate, this review is mainly for ZooBooo. I hate to say this (because it feels incredibly disloyal), but I wasn't impressed. Maybe it was because we went on the last day of the Halloween weekend and the animals were all Halloweened out, maybe it was just super crowded because it was a beautiful Sunday in October, or maybe I'm just being snobby. (The last four Boo at the Zoos we went to were at the San Francisco Zoo, which is, in my opinion, nicer and more interactive with the animals and pumpkins/Halloween decorations, etc; and the one before that was at Roger Williams in Rhode Island, which is similar in size and quality, but was amazingly decorated.) Honestly, I just like to dress the kids up and take them to the zoo to see the decorations and other kids in costumes. The Maryland Zoo was very minimal on the decorations, both in and outside the animal exhibits. We didn't stop at either of the two candy stations we saw (I'm sure there were more, but we decided within about two seconds of seeing the line at the first one that we were going to skip that feature of the day!). Of the exhibits, the penguins and bats had pumpkins. One of the cat exhibits may have had something in a bag. (I'm definitely sounding snobby now, aren't I. :\ Meh.) Quick note on parking: the last two times we've gone, there have been no issues and we were within a reasonable walking distance. We arrived this morning maybe 20 minutes after opening and parked on the grass in literally the very farthest spot from the entrance (no seriously; we were the last car on an upward slope!). Not an issue, and the parking directors were very efficient , but I definitely recommend getting there early for "special" weekends. Couldn't believe how many people were there today!! (Parking is free, at least.) One more upside: the staff is incredibly nice. The lady at the ticket counter was very friendly, and there were people at various spots showing and/or telling you about the different exhibits and animals. But not in a pushy way. I have two small children (four and six) and several managed to be engaging enough to keep the four-year-old interested and volunteering answers to their questions. (I was impressed. The six-year-old is easy. The four-year-old is like, ooh! shiny!) Also, I'm not sure if it was against the rules, but we brought a bottle of water and some granola bars with us and saw enough other people-with-small-children munching on crackers and rice cakes that I didn't feel like we were doing something criminally wrong. (Unlike other zoos. So that's another plus.) All in all, I think next year we will venture down to DC and try the National Zoo for Boo at the Zoo weekend. Apparently they do theirs at night, which would be a fun twist to the adventure. It's a fun Halloween tradition that we started when the kids were too young to go door-to-door trick-or-treating, but I honestly felt like today was more of a "dress up in costumes and hang out at the zoo" day than anything else. Which, considering that we didn't pay extra to get in, isn't really a complaint. It just wasn't what I everything that hoped and expected. (That being said, we still bought a membership, since we'll probably go back during the summer - because, really, no matter how snobby I might sound, the kids enjoyed the day immensely - and getting a membership once is cheaper than paying full fare twice.)
Lots of walking
Oct 23, 2014 by: T R from Ephrata
The people were very nice, HOWEVER, I got in for free. There was not a lot of animals but there surely a lot of walking. This is a good place to get you 10000 steps in.
Love the new African Penguin Exhibit!
Oct 21, 2014 by: Heather S from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
This was our second visit to the Maryland Zoo and we were very excited to see the new African Penguin exhibit. We were not disappointed,the new enclosure is beautiful and offers so many areas to see, learn about and get great pictures up close of these creatures. We love visiting zoos and this is one of our favorites. It has a nice layout that enables you to follow a path and get to see everything. Its been about 3 years since our last visit and we have noticed quite a few updates. The Maryland Zoo is a great attraction to visit when in the Baltimore area.
Best African Penguin exhibit anywhere!
Oct 13, 2014 by: Gary W from New Jersey
I revisited the Maryland Zoo on opening day of their grand new African Penguin habitat. I'd been following its construction closely through updates they provided so i knew it would be beautiful, but it was even better than that. Stunning! A perfect home for the birds - the staff's love of and commitment to them is obvious. I bought a yearly pass just so I can revisit again soon
Beautiful small zoo with great exhibits
Oct 10, 2014 by: Jennifer L from Dallas, Texas
I have been to this zoo off and on over the years and each visit I have noticed enhancements. The zoo is located in Druid Lake Park, in a wooded area. The zoo is designed to mesh with the natural surroundings, and contains several really excellent exhibits. The habitats are spacious and well-maintained, and the animals look healthy and comfortable. It's a very family-friendly zoo, suitable for young children. However--It's a fairly long walk from the entrance to the exhibits, so take the tram if you don't want to make the trek. My favorite today was the trio of lion cubs--so cute--but there are so many great animal exhibits. African elephants, leopard, cheetah, okapi, polar bear, arctic fox, hellbenders, giraffes, porcupines, aviaries--this zoo has it all in a compact and beautifully managed space. Worth a visit!
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