Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Behind the Scenes at the Cincinnati Zoo (Elephants, Brisket + More!)

The wonderful people at the Cincinnati Zoo invited Larry and I to visit a few weeks ago. We were able to tour the zoo, meet a special new friend and try some delicious BBQ! 

The new entrance to the zoo is so pretty - it really is a great zoo. It was one of our first dates so we're always happy to go back to celebrate our anniversary of sorts. (Six years together this summer!)

The Africa exhibit is now fully open and we were excited to see it! Last time we visited it was still under construction.

The open field is pretty fun to watch - with so many different types of animals! Including the one that kicked Kevin James' behind in Mall Cop 2 (that's 2 hours of my life I'll never get back).

We also got to see the painted dogs! They have a billboard advertising them by my work so I was really excited to see them. We just saw them on a nature show last week as well - they're pretty crazy looking pups! And so many of them!!!!

Then - we saw Cincinnati's own version of Meerkat Manor! They are such unique looking little guys - and remind me much of little ferrets.

I just love the look on their faces - they're so expressive and tiny! They're so delicate!! I could have just sat there and watched the all day.

But then we were onto meet a special new friend - up close and personal!!

The Elephants!!!!

 We were able to go into their enclosure and say hello and get a little snuggle in. People always make fun of me that all my pics where my mouth is open - but my friend the elephant did the same thing. I knew we were friends!

Larry reluctantly got up close and gave her a few pets as well. They're such unique creatures when you're that close. Their trunks are so thick and not leathery - just really hard and massive - but so flexible. I can't say it felt like anything I'd ever felt before - it was pretty cool!

The zoo is also a great place for beautiful pictures - I'll let you enjoy the next few...





(I'm obsessed with Polar Bears - I could watch them all day long.)





We also got to tour the restaurants at the zoo. Just this week, Base Camp Cafe - the largest cafe on the premises - was named the Greenest Restaurant in America for 2015! They had the award a few years ago and I'm sure they are giddy to have that distinction again!

Chef David Miller gave us a tour of the restaurants and shared some behind-the-scenes info with us. He has been all over the country as a chef - but now that he has a family - he's really enjoying Cincinnati. He also said that no matter what you want to make - hot dogs and hamburgers will always be top sellers at the zoo. So he's tried to find unique ways to make the food that he serves the BEST he can.

One start was the newly opened Cincy's Smokehouse BBQ Shack. This opened this summer and has a much more unique menu than most of the rest of the park. Everything is made on the property and is mouth-watering!!! I was impressed that everything is made in the park - when you think about food at an "amusement venue" - you think it's probably all frozen and processed - but this is definitely NOT that!!!

Chef Miller gave us a tasting of their menu offerings - pulled pork, saratoga chips and more. That pulled pork was really good - it was juicy and full of flavor. They also have two different kinds of sauce available. They serve craft beers as well - so you're not stuck with Bud Light here!  

Another drool-worthy menu item was the corn!!! Fresh, grilled corn - smothered in butter and salt. Oh how I love summer corn. I mean - seriously - are you not drooling right now?????

 Then - the brisket. I'm not even sure where to start. It wasn't on the menu yet - but he was working on it - and let me say - holy freakin moly!!!!! This brisket was the best I have ever had in my entire life. It was moist and delicious. Larry isn't usually one to get excited but he looked up and me and said "Wow - that's awesome!" We had so much food - and there was no way we were going to eat it all. As I was debating what to do - Larry went up and asked for some sort of container to take it home with. So - I guess he made the decision for me. It was so delicious.

If you are heading to the zoo for Hall-ZOO-ween - be sure to stop at the new Smokehouse BBQ Shack because it has AMAZING food selections. You cannot go wrong here. Trust us!!!

I couldn't hold back any longer...I dove into that corn and KILLED IT!!! Larry was laughing at me because I was going to town on it. And I'd do it again!!!

Why Should You Go? I love the zoo - it's a reminder of fun times with my new boyfriend six years ago that turned out to be my hubby of five years this weekend! And next time you go - skip the burgers and Skyline - get the BBQ!!! You won't be sorry!

Base Camp café Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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