GringosAbroad Ecuador

Vacationing Abroad – The Miami Zoo

Posted in: Our Travels

One of the things we enjoy about living abroad is traveling. Ecuador is an amazing country to travel around, the beauty and diversity is astounding.

We also like traveling to places that have some of the things we were used to from Canada. Big book stores like Chapters or Indigo, and the large grocery and department stores we were used to.

That doesn’t mean that we don’t like being here in Ecuador. By the end of our vacation we could not wait to get back home – Ecuador.

We took a trip to Miami not long ago and while we were planing the trip one of the places our daughter wanted to see most was the Miami Metro Zoo. We all love animals so we were excited. The day we went was sunny, but not so sunny that all the animals were hiding from the sun.

Feeding Giraffes!


One of the highlights was feeding the giraffes. They were so huge, but so gentle. I was surprised to see how long their tongues were. As Drew passed the giraffe pieces of lettuce it would stretch out its tongue and curl it around the lettuce, and then bring it slowly back into its mouth. The giraffe seemed to be so conscious of being careful not to hurt Drew that its tongue was quivering as it reached out ever so slowly to take the lettuce.

Seeing the giraffes up so close gave me a new appreciation for them, I was so amazed watching Drew feed them that I almost forgot to take pictures. Their big beautiful eyes, the gorgeous pattern on their fur, and that amazingly long neck! I didn’t think that I was going to get to pet a giraffe at the zoo. There is a first time for everything!


Getting Really Close With Monkeys And Lions

In the lion and the monkey enclosures there were areas that we could walk inside of to get a closer look at the animals. We walked inside of these cave like structures where the only thing separating us from the animals was a couple inches of glass.

When we walked up to the glass in the monkey enclosure one of the monkeys saw us and walked over. He started slapping the glass right in front of us, it was really funny. And when we walked up to the glass in the lion enclosure we were surprised to find a lion lying right up against the glass!



Friendly Birds and Naughty Squirrels

There was a huge aviary full of different kinds of birds, many of them free to walk and fly around wherever they pleased. One of the birds we spent some time taking pictures of started following us as we walked away, kind of like he wanted to come home with us.


We also had fun watching a large squirrel steal the french fries Drew dropped while we were having lunch. The way they sit on their back legs and hold their food with their front paws, nibbling away is so super cute! We used to see squirrels a lot back in Canada. Seeing a naughty squirrel stealing food from the bird feeder in the middle of winter was something I always loved to watch.

We have also traveled to Canada and Aruba since we’ve lived in Ecuador. Where do you travel (outside of the country) while living abroad? Please share your comments with us.



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Meet the Author

Dena Haines is co-editor of GringosAbroad - Ecuador's largest blog for expats and travelers. She is a travel blogger and content marketer. She is also co-founder of ClickLikeThis (GoPro tutorial blog) and Storyteller Media (content marketing for travel brands). Work with GringosAbroad.

13 comments… add one
  • Shannon Apr 28, 2013, 6:03 pm

    Hey Dena,

    How long are the trips you take – Miami, Galapagos, etc. Is it easy to get to and from these places?

    Love your blog!

    • Bryan Haines Apr 29, 2013, 9:47 am

      Galapagos is easy – just a short flight from mainland. It can take some effort to arrange reasonable (price / schedule) flights to North America but it isn’t too bad. There are direct flights from Quito and Guayaquil to Miami – so it makes a great destination.

      Thanks Shannon!

  • Stephanie Oct 10, 2012, 11:09 am

    Great piece on the Miami Zoo. I hope to visit it too soon for my blog about zoos around the world. Thanks for giving a glimpse of it.

  • Evangeline Aug 25, 2012, 9:24 am

    Sounds like fun! Have you guys been to the new Cuenca Zoo on the Auto Pista? It’s a lot of fun. You get to play with the monkies!

    • Bryan Haines Aug 26, 2012, 6:51 am

      No, we haven’t been there yet, but it’s on the list. We’ll cover it once we get there! We’ve heard that it’s really nice.


  • Lisa Aug 21, 2012, 4:30 pm

    Hi Dena. I enjoyed your zoo photos, so cool. Animals are always so interesting to watch. Wouldn’t it be great to not have to have cages and fences. The giraffe looks like he needs more than lettuce. They have such thin faces. 🙂 Please pass on a big hug and hello to Drew. Thanks for your article.


    • Alan Herman Aug 22, 2012, 11:00 am

      Hi this is Alan Herman, and I agree a visit to the zoo is great. I have gone to the Dallas Zoo and it is great, I visited with my grandaughter who was 2. She also loved the giraffes and their long tongue. Thanks and keep up the good work.

  • Stewart Aug 19, 2012, 8:45 pm

    Dear Dena,

    I loved hearing about your vacation too. We just got back from a trip to Disneyworld and Legoland between Orlando and Tampa. It was great to be
    back in the States because yes we missed at LEAST the organization.

    Maybe it’s that “grass is always greener” idea that when we’re in
    Cumbaya, Ecuador we wish to be back in the States sometimes. After a
    while on our Florida vacation we wished to be back home
    which is now Cumbaya.

    One day I’ll start my blog and share more.

    Best to the family!

    • Dena Haines Aug 22, 2012, 11:44 am

      Hi Stewart,

      The same thing happens to us, by the end of our vacation we are ready to get back home – Cuenca!

      Thanks for commenting.

  • Lollie Aug 17, 2012, 7:46 am

    Ok, I will post a comment, even tho we are going thru the challenging process of finally GETTING to Ecuador and not the least bit ready to think about LEAVING to come back! Ha Ha! Dena, I did love your article. The photos of the giraffe were wonderful and I am an animal lover too. They are amazing. Thank you for sharing your story about the zoo. It’s so good to hear the truth about living in a foreign country. You guys tell it like it is. Thank you for all you do.

    • Dena Aug 17, 2012, 9:15 am

      Hi Lollie,

      We felt the same way when we arrived and we were here for 2 years before we left the country for vacation.

      All the best with your trip!

      Thanks for your comment 🙂

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