“York’s Wild Kingdom”, Maine — Largest Zoo Hereabouts — August 2015.
by Anura Guruge
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There was about 3 or 4 years in a row, starting c. 2007, when we used to go to “York’s Wild Kingdom” on an annual basis, usually on my birthday and at least once treating a bunch of local kids from Alton (NH) to a day at the zoo. Then other things like Whale Watches and Acadia entered the picture. Though she has been multiple times, and we have iconic pictures to prove it, Teischan couldn’t remember ever going to “York Zoo”. When Devanee is at Camp Teischan gets to go on two trips of her choosing to compensate. I rattled off a list of possibilities and one she picked was the zoo in Maine. So on Monday, August 17, 2015 we left early and got there sharp at 10 am just as they opened the gates.
It was a hot day and we knew that in advance. We were, however, surprised that it wasn’t packed. It was moderately busy but you could tell that it wasn’t crowded. That was good. Other than the ferris wheel with its cumbersome loading routine there was hardly any lines for anything. It was good in that respect. The heat, and I think it got up to 90°F at some point, also meant that the ‘Duck Pond’ — with its famous paddle boats — had a pungent “eau de duck poop” smell, but that was to be expected.
Exactly 3 months earlier I had taken Teischan to the Philadelphia Zoo. York’s Wild Kingdom is NOT Philadelphia Zoo.
The York Zoo is quaint and cute with its petting deer and the amusement park, but it is also old, dated and in someways very infuriating. Yes, it is very Maine and Downeast. None of the food places take credit cards. That is crazy. It has to be to avoid taxes! Places that don’t take credit cards when they should drive me nuts.
As a zoo it is a funny ol’ mixture. It has lions and two tigers and a fair smattering of other animals. The old elephant that used to be there a few years ago is gone. The enclosures are from the 1950s. Definitely not a modern zoo. That bothers me. BUT IT IS GOOD FOR KIDS. They love the petting zoo parts — goats, deer, sheep …
The rides are old and limited. The Ferris Wheel is an antique and they have to balance the weight of the riders which can be quite amusing in Maine. Teischan and I got called up ahead because they needed some ‘non-heavy’ riders. Funny.
It was OK. The heat didn’t help. But Teischan had fun. I tried the baseball batting cage — a first for me. It was interesting. I connected about 50% of the time. Took a load of pictures. I will try and share as we go along.