Sunset Safari

A male African Lion posing during the Sunset Safari at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York.

A male African Lion posing during the Sunset Safari at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York.

The Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York, hosts Sunset Safaris on Tuesdays during the month of July each year. The zoo closes at 4:30PM each day. By attending a Sunset Safari you get back into the zoo from 5:30 to 8:30PM.

Along with viewing the zoo animals, there is live music performed by local bands and special pre-ordered meals available. On the evening of my visit, the band was all about music from the 1970’s which brought back memories.

This is a good time of the day to see animals who mostly sleep or are inactive during the heat of the day moving around as the air cools with the setting sun. In particular, the African Lions were very active and playful inside their enclosure. The two sisters were taking turns stalking their brother. A bit of rough housing would ensue when one of them would punce on his back.

In between bouts, they would relax and even pose for the visitors watching and photographing them through the glass.

Shooting through glass is challenging. You have to be careful not to get reflections of yourself and other people near you. I get as close to the glass as I can and shoot straight on.

I was informed by the zoo volunteer the lions are triplets. They also have a tendency to roar around 8PM each night but decided not to on this evening. I’ll have to wait to capture a roaring lion photo on some other day.

If you have a nearby zoo which has evening hours or a program such as a Sunset Safari, grab your camera and enjoy an evening with some real animals. 🙂

A Lioness takes a break from stalking her brother but still keeps an eye out for another advance during the Sunset Safari at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York.

A Lioness takes a break from stalking her brother but still keeps an eye out for another advance during the Sunset Safari at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York.

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16 Responses to Sunset Safari

  1. Gerry says:

    Good job of capturing the predatory gaze of the Lioness. She may be playing, but playtime is practice time . . . Friends who lived a mile or so from the Detroit Zoo used to hear the lions roar in the night. It took some getting used to.

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    • I have heard the lions before. Was just hoping to catch one in the act. Maybe next time.

      Oh, the girls were fun to watch as they stalked him. Low to the ground and then the final pounce. Though these three have alwasy been in captivity, they haven’t lost their natural instincts to hunt.

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  2. imac says:

    The sunset Light and the Texture of the rocks, makes this a wonderful shot.

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  3. burstmode says:

    The thing about lions and tigers is how huge they are when you get close to them.

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  4. rvewong says:

    I like those natural looking shots Scott. Guessing you have to pay extra for the sunset experience?

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  5. Anna Surface says:

    Great captures! Yeah, the glass can be a challenge. It’s been awhile since I’ve been to the zoo to photograph. I really like these and the shots look so natural. 🙂

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    • Thank you, Anna. They have done a nice job revamping the animal enclosures over the last several years. I remember visiting this zoo as a child and it was dirty, smelly with old steel cages. Animal behaviors were far from natural and wasn’t very healthy for animals. While a cage is a cage, it is much better than it was back then.

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  6. morningjoy says:

    Wonderful photos of magnificent animals. I almost felt as if you were on safari. You’re fortunate to be able to visit your zoo during evening hours. Our zoo is open during the worst time to photograph and it’s just plain hot right now. I’m waiting for cooler; shorter days.

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  7. Fantastic shots. Both animals look so natural in their environment. I mean these are two knock you off your feet photos.

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