In my last post about the Detroit Zoo, I shared a bit about how much good the zoo does, from rescuing and rehabilitating animals to environmental education and activism, the zoo seems to really care about nature, and that’s something I will always support. One of my favorite places within the Detroit Zoo, followed closely by the Reptile House, is the Mathilda R. Wilson Free-Flight Aviary. The Matilda R. Wilson Aviary is home to beautiful tropical birds, beautiful tropical plants, and year-round blooming flowers, this conservatory is a beautiful oasis to experience a tropical jungle environment close to home.
Detroit Zoo Mathilda R. Wilson Free-Flight Aviary
Location: Royal Oak, Michigan
Admission: Included in zoo ticket
Hours: See hours here
Species: 20+ Tropical Birds
Environment: Indoor Tropical Garden
The Matilda R. Wilson Aviary is unlike most aviaries that keep birds in small cages, because this place allows the birds to fly, walk, and swim around at their leisure. More than 20 varieties of calm, visually striking birds live within the aviary all year long, like the Scarlet Ibis above, and the Taveta Golden Weaver below. This is one of my favorite places in Michigan to visit, in addition to Frederik Meijer Gardens, when I need a break from the cold, dreary winters that seem to stretch on endlessly. There’s something so refreshing, enchanting, and soul soothing about stepping into the tropical climate, being surrounded by the sweetest bird songs, and lush, blooming flowers like red or yellow hibiscus and bright pink bougainvillea.
If you stay still for a moment and look up, and around you during your time inside the aviary, especially looking up at the branches of the wide trees, you may spot a nesting or resting bird, like this bleeding heart dove picture below (named for the red patch of feathers on its chest), that was sitting in a nest not a foot from my face. If I hadn’t been paying attention, or if I’d been rushing to get through the aviary, I may have missed how small and cute it was.
I do not recommend bringing small or poorly behaved children who like to run or chase things to the Matilda R. Wilson Aviary, as some birds walk slowly on the pavement and on walkways, and could be injured by children or even adults who aren’t careful and respectful. These birds are so precious and so gentle, and we should all be very careful where we step, and walk slowly through here to best enjoy the sights and sounds of these gorgeous birds, and to ensure that they stay healthy, safe, and happy.
x Annie Fairfax
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