After ten minutes of loose organization at the zoo entrance, our first stop was the reptile house. From blinding sunlight outside to what I remember as almost pitch black, there were just glowing rectangles of glass along the walls until my eyes adjusted to the darkness. It was crowded, an elbow here, a foot stepped on there, all in earnest of spying a tiny frog or a coiled snake. On my recent visit, there was more room to move about (maybe because I’m taller now than I was in elementary school) but it was still dark. Out, into the blazing sun brought us young explorers to the elephants. Sadly there are no elephants at the Philadelphia Zoo anymore, so there are no elephant pictures in the gallery. On to the carnivores. There were no see-through plexiglass houses for the big cats years ago. There were cages inside and an arena outside with a moat wide enough to keep us safe. I remember the smell inside. The smell so foul that it stuck to your clothes, dripped from your hair,and choked your lungs if you breathed too deep. Today the “First Niagra Big Cat Falls” is much much better. This is “Merlin”, he arrived at the zoo in 1993 along with three females. They came from South Africa. he weighs over 400 lbs.
Nikon D800 Sigma 50-500mm @ 500mm f/6.3 ISO 400 1-250 sec