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New penguin exhibit and more for tots at the Maryland Zoo — Mommy Daze

The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore opened a new penguin exhibit, so of course we had to go. It’s a favorite of my boys because there is so much to see and do. It’s a perfect place for toddlers and preschoolers.

Zoo4Near the entrance we said hello to the adorable prairie dogs and their cute little babies, quickly scooted past the oh-so-tempting playground, and headed on the long walk to the main part of the zoo. You can take a tram but I usually opt to walk because my double stroller is packed with snacks, jackets and other paraphernalia. The walk is nice since it’s primarily down hill, but walking back up the hill at the end of the day is another story.

Right as you walk into the main part of the zoo, you’re greeted by the new Penguin Encounters exhibit in all its glory. It’s very large and open, with lots of viewing areas for kids to see the penguin action. The exhibit consists of a large rock surrounded by water. In a building behind the rock, there is a huge Window where you can watch the penguins diving and swimming underwater. There’s also a huge bucket that dumps water onto a glass dome that you can stand inside to see the water falling all around you. It is very cool.

After watching the penguins waddle and slide around, we headed off into the rest of the zoo. The wooden walkway leading to the African Journey section of the zoo has lots of fun things to see, like giant turtles, a cheetah, exotic birds, rhinos and zebras.

Once in the African Journey, the boys got a kick out of feeding the giraffes, who would lean over to munch large leaves right out of their hands. The lions were sleeping, but the kids love getting their pictures taken in front of the “lion pride” photo spot.

At the elephant exhibit, we watched as trainers checked their gigantic feet and walked them around. Luke, 1, was in awe of the giant pachyderms. It’s great how close you can get to them, but there’s also an observation deck that overlooks the elephant exhibit. We sat at a picnic table nearby and had lunch, with a great view of the giraffes in one direction, elephants in the other and a camel behind us. But of course, our boys would rather chase squirrels.

Next we headed into the Chimpanzee Forest building where both boys watched the various monkeys jumping around. One even came right over to the glass to sit and munch on lunch while my kids watched in disbelief at how close it was. Interestingly our 3-year old, James, absolutely loves the little Golden Frog display in the building. He cracks himself up watching them hop all around their little waterfall exhibit.

After waving goodbye to the chimpanzees, we worked our way back towards the main part of the zoo where we took a quick ride on the awesome carousel.

Dark clouds started rolling in and the boys were ready for naps, so we opted to skip the Maryland Wilderness section of the zoo. We’ve been before and it’s definitely a must with kids. There is a huge slide inside a giant tree that my boys would go down all day long if they could. Inside the tree, there’s cool creepy displays with snakes, spiders and other gross things that this Mommy doesn’t care for. The farmyard is fun too, with a cute donkey that we’ve affectionately nicknamed “Eeyore” and goats to pet.

Toting our new penguin t-shirts, sticky frog and polar bear toys from the gift shop, we took our tired snoozing boys home. They’ve been asking to go back ever since!

Click here to learn about new baby animals and special deals and times at the zoo this summer.

Click here to read more Mommy Daze.


Mandy Watts is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Crownsville with her husband, Justin, who runs their family business, and their two sons, 3-year-old James and 1-year-old Luke.

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