The shortening summer days blend into autumn so quickly - where did the summer go?
Fortunately, the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is open until October 12, so there is plenty of time to enjoy the changing seasons in the crisp outdoors.
The nice thing about visiting the Zoo in October is that it’s a little more relaxed. Strollers crunch through piles of crisp leaves. Jackets are tossed casually around shoulders, and the popcorn stand is a little more popular than ice cream cone venders. The animals are active, enjoying the cooler temperatures and softer, less direct sunlight.
And, when you visit the Zoo in mid-October, you’ll see tons of pumpkins and gourds decorating the walkways and animal habitats. If you’re a pumpkin fan, you’ll love seeing all the different types here – green, white, orange, knobby, smooth, tiny and large. Slowly, a peacock will strut behind the bushes, craftily eyeing the pedestrians. Then, with a lo-o-ng reach of his emerald neck, the bird pecks a large chunk out of a gourd and retreats to the hidden safety of another bush. Yes, the pumpkins are popular.
In the Indonesian Rain Forest, the Prevost’s Squirrel – so cute with his multi-colored fur – hops onto a branch and samples a fresh food tray of fruit. With his fluffy coat and capacious jaws, he seems to be storing up for the winter.
Strolling through the African Journey is so pleasant. The tall grasses have turned to gold. Some of the flowers – mums especially – are blooming in spicy glory. And the meandering streams wander gently around the sidewalks. The zebras are placid, eyeing visitors as though this is really nothing new. And the giraffes blend in with the changing deciduous leaves. It’s almost as if they are having a fashion show in gold, yellow and tan!
Riding the Australian log boats is fun. When your ride slips through the tunnels of leafy branches, everything is tinged with a musty sweetness. The kangaroos in their tasteful coats look like they’re preparing for cooler weather.
The great big pond in the center of the zoo has Mother Goose perched there, in a ruffled bonnet. Gazing out over the pond, you see the shimmering twin fountains and happy ducks, waddling towards the duck feed vending machines. Tinged-yellow leaves float on the water, lapping gently at the shore. A pumpkin or two has rolled down the slopes. Over at the petting zoo, goats crowd about and nibble at tasty handouts. The smell of wood smoke tinges the air, lending a tang of colder temperatures to the sunshine.
By mid-October, the weather is in a changing way. Some weekends will be nippy and rainy, while others are gloriously sunny and warm. The last weekend the Zoo is open is usually filled with sunshine and cool, light-jacket weather. You might want to bring a light sweater if you’re there in the morning but by afternoon, the Zoo has become comfortable and warm. It’s a great way to experience some of autumn’s finest offerings in one of Fort Wayne’s friendliest places.
Louisa is a lifelong Fort Wayne resident. A long-time musician and literature aficionado, Louisa likes to explore the classical music offerings that Fort Wayne has to offer. (She also likes to browse the Allen County Public Library's stacks for just the right book!)