Author Archives: Chelsey

Remembering Honeydew

Princess Honeydew enjoys a special birthday treat made by her keepers.

When some of our animals reach retirement age and are no longer comfortable shifting in and out of their habitats, we move them to a special home designed for their comfort, where dedicated keepers care for their every need away from the public eye. Our beloved South American tapir Honeydew lived her golden years behind the scenes where she was pampered daily. She recently passed away due to age-related health issues – and impressively, she lived to be the nation’s oldest tapir in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Honeydew would have celebrated her 38th birthday this month. Lovingly referred to as “Princess” Honeydew, she received the royal treatment from her keepers, who went above and beyond to ensure she had the best possible care throughout her geriatric years. And her birthday is one they’d never forget. Her care team was diligent about making her indulgent birthday cakes each year to show her just how much she was loved. Honeydew was also constantly pampered with brushes, baths, special foot care, leisurely swims in her personal pool, and of course tons of love and attention.

Another fun birthday moment. Just look at that snoot!

Her keepers have shared some of their favorite Honeydew moments as we say farewell to this sweet girl:

  • She would dramatically flop over for belly rubs, which were her favorite.
  • You could tell when she was really happy when she would close her eyes and wrinkle up her snout.
  • She would get wild and excited when it was bath time.
  • Her snoot. It was always moving, smelling, exploring and seeing what trouble she could get into.
  • She LOVED visitors and thrived off of attention. The more we doted on her, the happier Princess Honeydew was.
  • Animals like her define zookeepers. It didn’t matter if you had been her keeper for years or you just met her, she made an impression.

Our keepers were always willing to give her their hearts and do whatever she needed, and we couldn’t be more proud of that! Honeydew will be dearly missed by all of us at the Dallas Zoo.

Categories: Mammals, Zookeepers | 1 Comment

Penguin profiles

6 of our 8 penguins at Penguin Cove! From top to bottom: Klondike, Marina, Tazo, Pickles, Charlee, Opus

It’s Penguin Days presented by Highland Capital Management at the Dallas Zoo! In honor of this cool $8 deal, we’d like to introduce you to 8 very special birds.  The members of our African penguin flock at the Don Glendenning Penguin Cove are pair-bonded, which means they sleep, eat and play together, and a few of them are also breeding pairs. Basically they’re bffs, which we think is pretty sweet.

African penguins are endangered, but YOU can make a big difference at home. Two of the major threats facing penguins are pollution and over-fishing. Here are a few easy ways you can help:

  • Reduce your plastic use to keep it out of oceans
    • Say no to plastic straws
    • Use reusable canvas bags instead of plastic ones
  • Always buy sustainably raised of caught seafood.

Opus gazes up at his keepers.

Opus

  • Born: December 21, 2016
  • Opus is our baby! At just two years old, this curious boy loves to be part of the action. He’s constantly running around playing and just being a rambunctious toddler.

Marina

  • Born: April 15, 2015
  • Marina is the introverted, artistic type. She’s shy, sweet and loves to paint! You can pick up one of her masterpieces in the Zoofari pop-up tent by the front gates. Proceeds benefit enrichment items for our animals.

Splash

  • Born: November 2, 1992
  • The oldest member of the flock, Splash is our feisty mother “hen.” When Splash has eggs or chicks to raise, she will defend them fiercely. She’s definitely mom goals, that’s for sure.

Klondike

  • Born: September 2, 1997
  • Klondike is a loving, dedicated dad and loyal to his mate, Splash! He loves her more than anything.

Pickles (on the rock), Tazo, Althea and Charlee at Penguin Cove.

Pickles

  • Born: April 9, 2011
  • Pickles is the social butterfly of the bunch. You’ve probably seen him greeting you at the viewing window at the Penguin Cove. He loves company and interaction! And he just hates to be without his mate, Althea.

Althea

  • Born: March 21, 2011
  • This girl is sassy and fearless! Althea is usually the first penguin to investigate new things – whether it’s a new food item, or training activity, she’s the bold one who leads the way.

Charlee

  • Born: May 7, 2015
  • Charlee is another feisty lady – with a big appetite! She definitely loves meal time, and her keepers love to watch her fun personality.

Tazo

  • Born: January 1, 2011
  • Tazo is the flock sweetheart. He’s one laid-back guy and a smart cookie too! He loves to participate in training and usually picks up new behaviors lightning fast.

Be sure to stop by Penguin Cove on your next visit! Plus, during the month of January, celebrate Penguin Days with some extra fun activities. Click HERE to learn more.

Categories: Africa, Birds, Conservation, Penguins | 1 Comment

Wild Earth Preschool is growing the next generation of wildlife ambassadors

It’s been a WILD ride since August, when class was officially in session at the Wild Earth Preschool! As the only full-time nature-based preschool in South Dallas, this was a big deal for us. These pint-sized zoologists have truly proved how important incorporating nature into our kids’ lives really is.

“We want to grow the next generation of wildlife conservationists,” says Marti Copeland, Dallas Zoo Director of Education. “We want to guide children in early experiences in nature so that they can grow up to love and care.”

It hasn’t even been a full season yet, but just check out all the things we’ve accomplished:

  • Wild Earth Preschool is the only nature-based full-time preschool in South Dallas.
  • We’ve got one fully enrolled class for this year and interest lists forming for every season until 2021!
  • Our flexible schedule meets the needs of parents working both in and out of their homes.
  • Families from all over the Metroplex, from Oak Cliff to East Dallas and Arlington to Argyle, have made us their preschool-of-choice.
  • And we had some SERIOUSLY awesome developmental gains for our students, like:
    • Building an environmental-STEM vocabulary with words such as habitat, predator, compost, protection, shelter, larvae, life cycle, and more. The students are using these words in correct contexts unprompted.
    • Developing an empathetic, responsible, connected classroom family. Students learn self-regulation skills, conflict resolution, and have classroom jobs such as conservationist, gardener, navigator, librarian, and song-selector.
  • Our students are becoming Zoo and wildlife ambassadors, doing things like picking up discarded Zoo maps to recycle and even educating guests about our animals.

We couldn’t be more proud to help raise the next generation of wildlife conservationists though this special nature-themed preschool. Learn more about what we offer, and contact us for an enrollment meeting at: bit.ly/WEPreschool

Categories: Conservation, Education, Uncategorized, Wild Earth Preschool | Leave a comment

Dallas Zoo Lights Pro Tips

Don’t miss Dallas Zoo Lights presented by Reliant!

There’s so much to do and see at Dallas Zoo Lights presented by Reliant. Here are a few of the best-kept secrets and spots you absolutely MUST see, straight from the Zoo Lights pros.

Pro tip #1: Cozy up to the fire, and make your own s’mores at the Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo.

Pro tip #2: Sip on some hot cocoa from Rudolph’s Sugar Shack. (Pssst…grown-ups, don’t forget to make yours extra special with a shot of Bailey’s and/or Peppermint Schnapps. 😉 )

Pro tip #3: Say hi to Santa! He’s kind of a big deal.

Pro tip #4: Get your craft on at our nature-themed ornament making station.

Pro tip #5: If you get chilly, head inside the Herpetarium or Bug U! to warm up.

Pro tip #6: Get in the holiday spirit with sounds of the season – catch nightly musical performances at Cat Green.

Pro tip #7: Take advantage of the most Instagram-worthy photo op – Rainbow Arch!

Pro tip #8: Stroll through Picnic Ridge and check out our newest light feature – larger-than-life animal-shaped lanterns.

Pro tip #9: Satisfy your sweet tooth – be sure to grab a funnel cake and a specialty donut. (Or two – who’s counting?)

Pro tip #10: Dallas Zoo Members get in FREE! Plus, tons of other perks all year long. Sign up to become a member today, and get 10% any level of membership. Take advantage of that deal HERE.

Did we miss anything? If you’ve been to Dallas Zoo Lights and have some more pro tips to share, let us know in the comments!

Click HERE for the full Dallas Zoo Lights schedule and to get your tickets now.

Categories: Dallas Zoo Lights, Events, Membership | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Recycle your old string lights at the Dallas Zoo, and help protect wildlife this holiday season

Reduce your impact this holiday season by recycling your old string lights!

Collection bin is located at the Zoo’s front entrance throughout Dallas Zoo Lights and will remain until January 13.

Are you tangled up in holiday lights? Don’t know what to do or where to turn? Fear not! Bring us your old string lights, and we’ll keep them out of landfills by recycling them responsibly. Many string lights are made with copper and other precious metals, which are harvested through mining in places like the Democratic Republic of the Congo where critically endangered gorillas and okapi live. Recycling these metals reduces the need to mine for new materials, which causes animal habitat destruction and other harmful effects to our environment.

There are so many reasons to recycle, but here are a just few ways that recycling benefits the environment and will help us Create a Better World for Animals:

  • Less waste sent to landfills provides more habitat space for wildlife.
  • Reduces the risk of waste making its way into places it shouldn’t, like the ocean, where animals can accidentally ingest it or become tangled.
  • Allows us to reuse materials without having to harvest new ones, including copper and plastics.
  • It takes less energy to recycle materials than to create new ones.

What do we do with these old lights? They go to our trusted metal recycler where they’re broken down and the parts are recycled individually.

 *Only string lights will be accepted for recycling; please do not bring other items like flood lights, extension cords or light hooks.

Categories: Conservation, Dallas Zoo Lights, Green Team, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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