Posts Tagged With: Dallas Zoo

Giant dinosaurs roar into Dallas Zoo this spring

The biggest zoo in Texas gets even BIGGER on April 1 with the opening of the Giants of the Jurassic exhibit, featuring more than 20 roaring, animatronic dinosaurs, plus the world-renowned, interactive theater puppet experience of Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live.

An 18-foot-tall, 43-foot-long Tyrannosaurus rex that moves and roars is one of more than 20 dinosaurs in our upcoming Giants of the Jurassic exhibit./Billings Productions Inc.

An 18-foot-tall, 43-foot-long Tyrannosaurus rex that moves and roars is one of more than 20 dinosaurs in our upcoming Giants of the Jurassic exhibit./Billings Productions Inc.

Our popular SOAR wildlife show also is being rethemed. The stars of the “DinoSOAR” show, presented by Kimberly-Clark, will highlight the connection between dinosaurs and modern-day animals.

As one of our continuing efforts to give back to the community, the $500,000 exhibit will be free with zoo admission, so guests pay no additional charge to explore the land before time. It runs from April 1 through Sept. 7.

“Who doesn’t love dinosaurs?” said Gregg Hudson, Dallas Zoo’s president and CEO. “All the way until Labor Day, our guests will not only see some of our era’s biggest animals, such as elephants, giraffes, lions and tigers, but also a T-rex, a Stegosaurus and much more.”

Massive Triceratop will joing the dinosaur lineup./Billings Productions Inc.

Massive Triceratop will joing the dinosaur lineup./Billings Productions Inc.

Dinosaurs will include Tyrannosaurus rex, Brachiosaurus, Stegosaurus and baby, Orinthomimus, Amargasaurus and baby, six Compsognathus, Baryonyx, Quetzalcoatlus, Dilophosaurus and baby, Parasaurolophus and its nest, Triceratops, Megalosaurus, Carnotaurus and Coelophysis.

In addition, zoogoers can explore raised “dig box” and fossil boxes, operate a robotic Dimetrodon, put together a large wooden dinosaur skeleton, and say “cheese” with a very photogenic Tyrannosaurus rex. The exhibit will be spread across the area of ZooNorth known as Picnic Ridge, but renamed Raptor Ridge for the summer.

“The Zoo’s newest attraction will be one of the most comprehensive dinosaur experiences in the country,” said Sean Greene, Dallas Zoo’s vice president of guest experiences. “We’ve talked about this for many years at the Zoo, and now guests can experience a variety of prehistoric-themed programs that will really set Giants of the Jurassic apart from other dinosaur exhibits.”

In the new DinoSOAR show, which runs several times a day Wednesdays-Sundays in the Wildlife Amphitheater, exotic animals help the zoo’s “paleontologist” search for fossils to complete a dinosaur skeleton. DinoSOAR includes unique birds, including an African crowned crane, hadada ibis, Harris hawk, trumpeter hornbill, Eurasian eagle owl, toco toucan and a bald eagle. And two new faces are Fred and Ginger, capybara siblings who weigh almost 100 pounds each. (Capybaras are the largest rodents in the world, and scientists believe they are distantly related to giant ground sloths that once grew to 20 feet long.) Another addition is Willow, an American beaver.

Dinosaurs also will be key elements of the zoo’s educational programs and summer camps, and special dinosaur-themed events and birthday parties will be available.

Brachiosaurus/Billings Productions Inc.

Brachiosaurus/Billings Productions Inc.

The special engagement of Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live will include special 30-minute shows four times a day, on Thursdays through Mondays. The immensely popular, international experiential theatre production features a large-scale cast of dinosaur puppets brought to life by sophisticated design and presentation and puppet mastery. The production, created in Australia, will feature an array of dinosaurs on a special stage, including the awesome Tyrannosaurus rex and the peaceful giant Triceratops, which was created by Erth uniquely for the North American tour. These lifelike recreations connect children to paleontology in a fun and informative setting, as guests meet a menagerie of insects, mammals and dinosaurs that once roamed the planet millions of years ago.

The North American tour of Dinosaur Zoo Live is produced by Red Tail Entertainment. Founded by Phillip Drayer, Red Tail produces live entertainment and a variety of live performances by headline entertainers throughout the United States. The company recently produced the national tour of Scooby Doo Live! Musical Mysteries, a live musical designed specifically for children, and A Night with Janis Joplin on Broadway in 2013-14. Its subsidiary company, 35 Concerts, presents concerts by notable entertainers such as Tony Bennett, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and many more at venues throughout the U.S.

WATCH the suspense in 30 seconds.

Categories: Conservation, Education, Events, Exhibits and Experiences, Giants of the Jurassic, Reptiles and Amphibians | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Winter is naptime for some reptiles and amphibians

Reptile and amphibian supervisor Bradley Lawrence guest-blogs on taking care of our diverse collection during hibernation months.

Bradley L bundled up

Reptile and amphibian supervisor Bradley Lawrence

Another North Texas winter is in full frigid effect — which means I layer on my warmest clothes, boots, gloves, scarves and – yes – my big, fluffy hat to keep warm. But for our reptiles and amphibians, when the temperatures drop, so do their body temperature, heart rate and digestion.

In the wild, these guys would need to find a temporary home underground or in a sheltered area where they can protect themselves and go into hibernation. Here at the Zoo, even though our reptiles and amphibians are in climate-controlled homes, we still need to take them through the motions of winter. Seasonal changes like temperature and rainfall are crucial cues to let them know when it’s time to reproduce.

Amphibians typically will lay eggs during rain events. This ensures that the eggs and tadpoles will have enough water to last through metamorphosis. Many temperate reptiles will take advantage of warm months to feed while resources are abundant, then go through a period of hibernation through the winter months. Some reptiles will breed prior to hibernation, then gestate through winter and lay eggs or give birth in the spring. Some reptiles will breed in the spring following hibernation.

At the Zoo, we have a “hibernaculum” that we use to house and carefully control the winter temperatures for those temperate animals that need a period of hibernation.  We start by gradually lowering the temperature of the animal’s enclosure and reducing the amount of food they receive. Reptiles generally need warm weather to digest food properly.

Texas horned lizard/Dallas Zoo

Texas horned lizard/Dallas Zoo

Once they have reached a low temperature, they’re taken off of food to let their bodies completely digest and process the food already in their system. Then, after a veterinary exam to ensure they are healthy enough to hibernate, they are placed in the “hibernaculum.” Here, the temperature for some of our snakes can be taken down to as low as 45 degrees.

The Texas horned lizard, a very high-profile lizard in our collection, is one reptile that requires a period of hibernation in order to reproduce. They are all in the hibernaculum now at about 49 degrees. We’ll slowly raise the temps in March to bring them out of hibernation. Then the males and females will be put together for breeding, helping to ensure the survival of this iconic Texas species.

Categories: Conservation, Reptiles and Amphibians, Veterinary Care, Zookeepers | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Saving Marvin, with a gift of heart

Marvin resting after his heart surgery at Children's Health in Dallas

Marvin resting after his heart surgery at Children’s Health in Dallas

A little boy from a small Pacific island, struggling to hold onto life and in desperate need of heart surgery, came to Dallas and left with a new future – and a love of some new animals.

Two-year-old Marvin was in desperate need of a cardiac surgery procedure that he couldn’t receive in his small village of Tabwakea, on Christmas Island. On this remote island in the Republic of Kiribati, nearly eight percent of children die before age 5.

Marvin giving a thumbs-up at Lacerte Family Children's Zoo

Marvin giving a thumbs-up at Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo

Thanks to the Dallas chapter of the nonprofit HeartGift Foundation, Marvin and his mom made the long journey to receive the promised gift of healing. He left his father, Nanai, and his 5-year-old sister, Daisy, behind to come to Dallas with his mother, Teaekaki (Tea) Tebeebe.

And after a skilled surgeon’s hands fixed the hole in the toddler’s heart, it was time for a special heart-filled adventure at the Dallas Zoo. After all of the health struggles, Marvin’s face lit up with excitement, courage and a love for animals.

He and his mother had never seen such a diverse collection of wildlife before, having lived all of their lives on the Pacific island with birds, crabs, dogs and cats. Marvin’s favorite animal was the giraffes in the Giants of the

Marvin and his mother with their Dallas host family

Marvin and his mother with their Dallas host family

Savanna. He and his mother had a wonderful time feeding them, and visiting the monkeys, spending time in the Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo and exploring all 106 acres of the Zoo.

Back on the Christmas Island, Marvin, now 3, has a new chance at life with a healthy heart, and he and his family are doing well.

We’re honored that HeartGift gave us the chance to be a part of his visit. To learn more about HeartGift, visit www.heartgift.org.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

BIRTHDAY BASH! Dallas Zoo celebrates chimp & otter’s 1st birthdays

 

Chimp Mshindi at 6 months old/Keeper Will Bookwalter

Chimp Mshindi at 6 months old/Keeper Will Bookwalter

Born one day apart, guest favorites Mshindi & Tasanee turn one

WHAT: Our babies are growing up! The Dallas Zoo is throwing a first birthday party bash for chimp Mshindi and Asian small-clawed otter Tasanee tomorrow (Saturday, Jan. 24), and everyone’s invited. The first 100 guests at both habitats will receive a free mini-cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes. Join us at 10 a.m. at the decorated Kimberly-Clark Chimpanzee Forest, as we sing “Happy Birthday” while Mshindi and his eight troop members tear into a massive, chimp face-shaped birthday cake filled with his favorite treats. Shortly after at 10:45 a.m. at the Betty Moroney Norsworthy Otter Outpost, we’ll sing to Tasanee as she and her parents dive into her floating sashimi boat loaded with her favorite food.

Otter Tasanee at 3 months old gets the hang of swimming/Dallas Zoo

Otter Tasanee at 3 months old gets the hang of swimming/Dallas Zoo

WHEN: Saturday, Jan. 24. Schedule:

10 a.m.: Birthday cake presentation at Chimpanzee Forest in Wilds of Africa

10:45 a.m.: Birthday cake presentation at Otter Outpost in ZooNorth

WHERE: 650 S. R.L. Thornton Freeway

WHY: Born just one day apart, Mshindi and Tasanee’s births have been major success stories for their endangered species. Asian small-clawed otter Tasanee beat the odds to survive; she needed more than 100 days of devoted care from her keepers, because single otter pups usually do not make it. Chimp Mshindi has been an integral addition to the now nine-member troop. He’s the first baby since his brother, Kona, arrived in 2009, adding a positive dynamic to the troop’s complex social structure.

 

 

 

Categories: Africa, Chimpanzee, Conservation, Enrichment, Events, Media, Otter | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Greening the Zoo

Rain, rain…come our way!

Horticulture manager, Randy Johnson, next to rainwater collection tank

Horticulture manager, Randy Johnson, next to new rainwater collection tank

What do rainwater harvesting tanks and reforestation have in common? They’re just a couple of the many environmentally friendly ways we create a self-sustaining ecosystem at the Dallas Zoo.

Conservation has been a pillar at the Zoo for some time now. And we aim to maximize the conservation of plants and wildlife by leading the way in sustainability and green initiatives. Through water conservation and reforestation, the Zoo reduces its ecological footprint. We hope it will encourage visitors to actively incorporate sustainable living into their own lives.

“We encourage people to lessen their ecological footprint on the earth,” said Randy Johnson, Dallas Zoo horticulture manager. “This positive impact can be a leading example for generations to come. We’re not only saving the environment, but also future generations.”

Water conservation

We’ve installed two stainless steel tanks to retain about 70% of water runoff at the Zoo. These tanks hold up to 3,125 gallons of harvested rainwater, which can be used for irrigation and other purposes, such as exhibit maintenance, throughout the Zoo.

This rainwater harvesting system reduces demand on the existing water supply and saves thousands of gallons of water over a single year. The system helps cut down on the amount of rain that washes into rivers and sewers, preventing flooding, erosion

Recently planted tree in Wilds of Africa

Recently planted tree in Wilds of Africa

and pollution. Think about it: water is a precious commodity, and rainwater tanks are an inexpensive and low-maintenance way to conserve.

Reforestation

We know trees absorb carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, and help offset the negative effects of climate change. As a result, the Dallas Zoo is committed to planting more native trees onsite. We’ve already planted 50 trees around the 106-acre Zoo, many in the Giants of the Savanna habitat.

Most importantly, plants and trees make up the backbone of all habitats, where animals depend on them for food and shelter. We want to use as many native plant species as possible to ensure a healthy ecosystem for the Zoo’s biodiversity.

In fact, you might say that green’s our favorite color!

Categories: Conservation, Horticulture | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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