In mid June,2009 we were visiting our granddaughter Brynn in Morgantown, WV. Oh yeah, Braxton and Michelle were there too. We were there for a house hunting trip. Ours was on the market and finally sold. I'd been looking on the internet and had a few already picked out. We saw all that were still available on Friday so Saturday was open.
Michelle had told us about a zoo in Kingwood, WV. I was a little
skeptical about what could be there and what kind of shape the animals
could be in. I'd seen some pictures and wasn't real impressed.
We didn't really have any other plans and Michelle suggested we take
Brynn and go. Off to
Hovatter's Wildlife Zoo in Kingwood we went.
On Route 7 from Morgantown, you have to watch for the sign on the left.
Its big enough but is screened off by a bush. If you aren't
careful, it will be too late to turn when you see the sign. The zoo is up the
small road on the left and is well marked.
I'll not try to offer up a detailed story of the zoo itself. I
kind of tried to offer that up in the pictures. I will try to tell
some of our thoughts and some of what we saw.
I'll start by saying I was more impressed than I expected to be.
Many of the animals had babies born this year. I've always
considered that to be a positive sign that the animals are treated well.
I don't know about feeding the zoo pellets to the animals instead of a
controlled diet but it wall seemed to work out well.
One problem they had was the prairie dogs. OK, maybe not really a
big problem. These little guys dug out of their area and went
under the fence. The result was that they were everywhere.
You'll notice there are pictures of them in the other pens with those
animals. As usual, they were fun to watch.
I was surprised to find mountain lions there. They had a pair.
There wasn't any indication of where they came from. The had
African Lions too. That was at least a mild surprise. Three
tigers. One a white tiger. The other 2 looked like a male
and female. The male was huge.
I found the black bear interesting. On our trips out west, we have
seen a few cinnamon colored black bears. They aren't uncommon out
there. I've never seen one in the east. I guess I still
haven't but the black bear at Hovatter's has ears and the top of its
head trimmed in cinnamon. Unusual as far as I know but there
wasn't any explanation.
I'd like to have seen some more information on how the zoo got started.
If it was there I missed it and they don't really talk about it on their
website. I'd also be curious about the specific animals.
Where did the zoo find them? What's their history before coming to
the zoo? There was enough information about the species but I'd
like to see more on the individuals.
All in all, it was a nice afternoon. If you're in that area or in
Morgantown with extra time, its worth a drive out that way. Take
Route 7 from Sabraton to Kingwood. I don't remember the cost but
it wasn't enough to be concerned about. There's a picnic area and
a small playground too. Hovatter's Zoo was much nicer than I
expected. Now if they would only come up with a season pass.