I love visiting zoos that make use of the natural setting that they are located in, vs. zoos that have completely man made, fabricated habitats. The Southwick Zoo in Mendon, MA makes great use of the woodsy 200 acres it occupies, with leafy shaded habitats for the exotic animals residing there. The largest habitat is a 35 acre deer forest, which visitors can roam a gravel path with a bucket of pellets, hoping to feed the braver deer that will approach them. During my visit I found that the boldest ones are patiently waiting for you to arrive at the end of the trail with food, and will willing to eat off of my outstretched hand.
The deer park wasn’t the only opportunity to feed doe eyed herbivores, as the zoo also offers giraffe feedings as well. I ascended up to a platform with three other visitors that placed us at eye level with four of the long necked mammals. We gripped tree branches that they methodically stripped of leaves. Once mine was bare, the large male ran each part of the branch through his teeth to strip it of bark while I fixated on his large, lash covered eyes. It was quite a memorable experience.