Located in Baltimore, the Maryland zoo features over 1500 animals that represent around 200 different species. The animals are all housed in enclosures that are built to mimic their natural habitats. The zoo was created in 1876, and was originally called The Baltimore Zoo. Before that, some of the residents of the city donated animals to the Druid Hill Park for display. Today, the zoo covers over 160 acres and is accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association.
One of the newest and most popular exhibits at the Maryland Zoo is the polar bear exhibit. The Polar Bear Watch opened in 2003 at the zoo to help with polar bear education and conservation measures by Polar Bears International. The zoo also offers a program called the Polar Bear Distance Learning Project for junior high and high school students, and they participate is research projects with scientists from around the world. The polar bears aren't the only mammals at the zoo. The Maryland Wilderness exhibit has species of animals found in the zoo's native environment, and other mammals found at the zoo include the Arctic fox, the gazelle, the African elephant, the African leopard, the chimpanzee, the cheetah, the common warthog, the dik dik, the okapi, the North American river otter, the plains zebra, the reticulated giraffe, and the southern white rhino.
Mammals aren't the only animals found at the Maryland Zoo. The reptiles and invertebrates here are also extremely popular. These species include the East African black mud turtle, the northern copperhead, the corn snake, the African slender-snouted crocodile, the spur-thigh tortoise, the timber rattlesnake, the northern pine snake, and the wood turtle. Birds are also popular at this zoo, with some of the featured species including the African penguin, the blue-winged teal, the black vulture, the common rave, the flamingo, the helmeted guinea fowl, the little blue heron, the ostrich, the long-eared owl, the snowy owl, the West African crowned crane, and the saddle-billed stork.
Along with viewing animals, guests can participate in a number of interactive activities. Feeding the giraffes is one of the more popular activities, and this station is open from 10:30 AM to 3:00 PM, weather permitting. The giraffes have been a part of the zoo since 1965, and the feeding station opened in 2008. It costs $2 to feed the giraffes branches of acacia. The zoo also offers programs for children, group tours and school programs, and a zoomobile, which travels around the Baltimore area to bring species to schools, organization, day care centers, senior citizen centers, and other groups.
The Maryland Zoo is open daily from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM and is closed only on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. However, because of Maryland's climate, not all of the animals may be available for viewing during the winter months. On weekdays, admission costs $9 to $11, depending on age. Weekend prices are slightly more expensive, but guests can purchase discounted tickets at the zoo's website. Visitors can also become zoo members to support the facility, and admission to the zoo is free members. For more information, visitors can call 410-366-5466.