Posts Tagged With: Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo

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: , | 2 Comments

Beyond exercise: The adventurous animals in the Lacerte Family Children Zoo go exploring

Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo goats explore the tiger viewing area on a recent adventure!

Animal Care Supervisor Lisa Van Slett Guest Blogs on ZooHoo!

For most people, taking your dog for a walk is a common event. It feels natural to say that your dog (and you) need exercise to stay in shape. Beyond good exercise, these walks are also a way for you to bond with your four-legged best friend.

But what about other animals? While we are limited by species at the Dallas Zoo (I would not recommend walking your giraffe around Oak Cliff), the Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo has room to roam. On any given day you may find the keepers walking goats, sheep, pigs, chickens or our longhorn!

Upon first glance walking these animals may seem straight forward, but there is more to it than meets the eye. Our keepers start training the animals with the basics, like getting comfortable with wearing a harness, halter, or collar. Just like people, individual animals have different levels of confidence. Sometimes we get lucky, and a goat is comfortable wearing a collar right away! Other times we have to build up to it, which is when the relationship between animal and keeper is vital. We use positive reinforcement to build those strong relationships and earn the animals’ trust. Once they are dressed and ready to go, we can start exploring the Zoo!

Penny and Oliver say hello to the Komodo dragon in the Herpetarium.

Another less obvious benefit of walking our animals around different parts of the zoo is how enriching it is for everyone involved. The animals get to see and explore something new, and it’s also fun for guests at the Zoo! Although you can go into our contact yard with the animals, there is something very special about bumping into them somewhere unexpected. The keepers get just as excited and request that we call them to tell them when the goats are coming for a visit! We also love seeing the reactions of the other species. The penguins and otters are always curious. Killa, the harpy eagle likes to watch the goats, and the Komodo dragon comes to the glass to see the pigs up close.

Keepers have a lot of factors to consider when deciding which animals to take out and what destination to pick. For instance, our goat herd contains 11 goats! As fun as that would be to walk the whole herd, we mix and match within the group, and only take out two or three at a time. Our Kune Kune pigs, Penny and Oliver, are always a big hit too. They are both halter training and can usually be seen walking within the Children’s Zoo, but occasionally you might find them out in ZooNorth. They have even made appearances in the Herpetarium! The sheep are our most adventurous animals. They have gone through the tunnel to the Wilds of Africa to visit the lions, cheetahs, mandrills, and penguins.  Everyone comes out to take a look!  Bahati the lion took a seat at the window, sitting as close as she could to the sheep. Mshindi the chimp likes to look at the chickens and watch as they walk around.

There are endless possibilities for adventure and exploring with our contact animals.  If you would like to see our animals in action, there are several options. You can come for a visit on Monday, Thursday or Saturday around 10-11 am (weather dependent) when we have our scheduled goat walks.  You may also see the sheep greeting guests as they come into the Zoo during our monthly Dallas Zoo Member Mornings. However, on the nicer days you never know what (or who) you may see around the Zoo during your visit!

Categories: Children's Zoo (Lacerte Family), Uncategorized, Zookeepers | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

“Arty for the Planet” art contest details!

Booker T. Washington students create animal-inspired chalk art at last year’s Arty for the Planet event.

When Earth Day rolls around, it’s a party at the Zoo! On April 21 and 22 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., our Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo is hosting Arty for the Planet. Guests can bust out ZOOmba moves with us; create upcycled musical instruments and jam; look at stunning wildlife conservation-themed chalk art by local art students; watch animals engage in art; and create your own nature-inspired art, too!

ART CONTEST

But before we kick off Earth Day celebrations, we’re inviting artists of all ages to submit an original art project using upcycled materials from April 14—18. Artwork will be judged on originality and use of upcycled materials in each age group by a panel of Dallas Zoo’s staff artists and the public.

Guests can enter into these four categories: ages 5 and under, ages 6-10, ages 11-17, and ages 18 and up. In each category, awards will be given for Peoples’ Choice (determined by Zoo-goers) and Experts’ Choice (determined by a panel of Zoo staff).

Submissions can be delivered to the Dallas Zoo Membership Services booth from April 14-18 during Zoo hours (9 a.m.-5 p.m.). Art will be on display in the Children’s Zoo for guests to vote on, and the winners will be announced and contacted on April 22. (Plus, we’ll share it on the Zoo’s Facebook page!) Winners of each category will receive a Family 4-pack of Dallas Zoo tickets. Good luck!

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Kunekune piglet siblings make us squeal

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Q. What’s fat and round, and has a name that means “fat and round?”

A. Kunekunes!

In June, the Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo welcomed two baby kunekune pigs to the big red barn. Adorable siblings Oliver and Penny quickly became a favorite of guests and employees alike.  (Jordan, the Children Zoo’s 17-year-old Vietnamese potbelly pig, is unimpressed with the youngsters next door. But she tolerates them, and all the extra visitors to the pig pens – very well.)

“Penny and Oliver have not only been one of the cutest additions to the Children’s Zoo, but they are one of the smartest as well,” zookeeper and lead trainer Jennifer Lim said.  “During short training sessions, using their favorite produce of grapes, apples, sweet potatoes, and carrots, these young piglets have already learned how to target, station, and crate on cue!”img_0279-kune-kune-piglets-cs

The only true “grazing pig,” kunekune (pronounced “koon-koon” or “kooney-kooney,” either is correct) are a breed of domesticated pigs that are native to New Zealand. The name does indeed mean “fat and round” in Maori. It wasn’t so long ago that they almost went extinct, with only 50 known purebred kunekunes in the 1970s. The breed came back from the brink thanks to the efforts of devoted wildlife preservationists, and today they are no longer considered endangered.

Penny and Oliver have the trademark kunekune short legs and short “smooshed” snouts, and are reddish brown with black markings. However, it’s easy to tell them apart – Oliver has one black ear, and Penny has wattles (also called “pire pire”) that hang down from her jaw.

Right now, at four months old, Penny and Oliver weigh about 30 pounds each. By the time they’re mature, however, they may weigh as much as 100 pounds.

Categories: Children's Zoo (Lacerte Family) | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

A new (and really big!) window on the world

Children's Zoo interpreter, Gerald Bogan, magnifies a Gulf fritillary butterfly under the new microscope.

Children’s Zoo interpreter, Gerald Bogan, magnifies a Gulf fritillary butterfly.

“Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

Did you know that a butterfly’s wings are full of tiny hairs? Or that the veins of a leaf look a lot like the ones in your body? Or that the richly colored eye spot on a polythemus moth’s rear wing is used to confuse predators?

Henry David Thoreau had an eye for nature, but he couldn’t have dreamed of this type of detail.

A new state-of-the-art microscope is taking nature discovery to another level at the Nature Exchange in the Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo. Purchased with grant money from the M.R. and Evelyn Hudson Foundation, the $4,600 microscope has been on our “wish list” for many years. Now, children can see the natural world clearer and closer than ever before.

“We wouldn’t have been able to afford it without the grant,” said Children’s Zoo supervisor Melody Wood. “This microscope lets children develop a connection to their environment. In turn, we hope they’ll grow up to become stewards of the natural world.”

The Nature Exchange is a natural item swap shop, where children bring in things they’ve found in their yard and trade up for cooler natural items.

When the kids bring their items in, now they can see them magnified with the microscope and beamed up onto a 48-inch LED Smart HDTV.

“We use the microscope to magnify things like snake skin, insects, rocks, micro fossils and more,” said Ryan Wies, Children’s Zoo specialist. “This makes it more fun, because they’re part of the discovery process and they take more away from it.”

If your children don’t have natural items to swap, we highly suggest checking out all the neat things we already have. We’ll put anything you want under the microscope, if it fits!

 

 

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