SOAR, A Festival of Flight presented by Kimberly-Clark

Heavy rain POSTPONES Safari Nights kickoff

SafariNights_ColorThe kickoff of the Dallas Zoo’s third annual Safari Nights summer concert series, scheduled for TOMORROW NIGHT, May 30, has been postponed. The record rainfall and last night’s storms have saturated Cat Green, where the outdoor concert series is held.

With the potential for more storms in the forecast and the safety of guests, animals and staff a priority, the zoo will reschedule Petty Theft (Tom Petty tribute band) and The Bird Dogs to a later date.

The Dallas Zoo is open for regular hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) today and tomorrow. However, due to storm cleanup in the Wildlife Amphitheater, the DinoSOAR wildlife show will not be held today or Saturday.

More info on Safari Nights:

Extended zoo hours and special evening keeper talks will give visitors a chance to mingle with some of the zoo’s wildest stars before the bands start to rock during Safari Nights. The concerts, which start at 7 p.m., will bring music to Texas’ largest zoo until 9 p.m. Food will be available for purchase, along with soft drinks, cold craft beer and wine.

The concert lineup, arranged through a partnership with The Kessler in Oak Cliff, includes:

POSTPONED – May 30: Petty Theft (Tom Petty tribute band) and The Bird Dogs

June 6: The Relatives (psychedelic gospel funk)

June 13: Escape (Journey tribute band)

June 20: Trout Fishing in America (eclectic folk/rock)

June 27: The Killdares (Celtic rock)

July 4: Live 80 (’80s tribute band)

July 11: A Hard Night’s Day (Beatles tribute band)

July 18: Sara Hickman (Texas singer/songwriter)

July 25: FastLane (Eagles tribute band)

August 1: The O’s (roots rock)

As the sun goes down, guests can get close to the stars of the zoo’s Animal Adventures outreach program and catch a special presentation of DinoSOAR, presented by Kimberly-Clark, the dynamic, interactive wildlife show featuring birds and mammals from all over the world.

The Safari Nights event schedule includes:

Lion Keeper Talk: 5 p.m.

Elephant Keeper Talk: 6 p.m.

DinoSOAR: 6 p.m.

Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo Keeper Encounters: 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Wild Encounters Stage animal presentations: Every half-hour until 6 p.m.

Animal Adventures: 6:30 p.m.

Concerts: 7 p.m.

Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo and Travis & Zach’s Birds Landing open until 7:30 p.m.

Giraffe Feeding, Koala Walkabout, and Lorikeet Landing open until 8 p.m.

Giants of the Jurassic exhibit and T-Rex Express mini train open until dark

Safari Nights is FREE with zoo admission, which for non-members is $15 for ages 12-64; $12 for ages 3-11 and seniors; and free for children under 2. Guests are encouraged to bring blankets or lawn chairs. Cabana rental packages will be available for purchase. Parking is $8 per vehicle (free for members), or visitors can take DART, the Zoo’s Official Transportation Provider; the Red Line drops guests off at the zoo’s entrance. iHeart Media is the Official Media Sponsor of Safari Nights.

Categories: Events, Exhibits and Experiences, Safari Nights, SOAR, A Festival of Flight presented by Kimberly-Clark | 2 Comments

Behind The Scenes: Training Quito to sing

The most talkative star of our SOAR, A Festival of Flight show, presented by Kimberly-Clark Corporation, has a great set of pipes, but like all good singers, she benefits from a great conductor.

Quito, an endangered double yellow-headed Amazon parrot, is a special bird who loves to sing, make animal noises, and send out kisses to her audience. And like all stars, she loves the stage. Quito has shown off her pipes in many cool places, including “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”

But before her performing career started, Quito lived in a home where her owners didn’t realize the extent of attention she needed to be properly cared for. After being released to the Natural Encounters Inc. team, her trainers were surprised to learn she already knew a lot of words and phrases. In her arsenal was a mixed-up version of the classic “Old MacDonald Had a Farm,” in which she didn’t sing the lines in order. Her experienced trainers, though, were able to teach her with specific cues.

“All parrots have the ability to mimic the sounds they hear, but not all have the desire,” said trainer Bobby Brett. “Luckily, Quito is one parrot who has the inclination and the desire to follow through.” And now, just as she would mimic sounds in the wild, Quito uses that natural behavior to charm hundreds of thousands of guests in SOAR.

To start the song off, Bobby cues her by saying “let’s sing,” and making a small swinging finger-hand gesture. Next, to cue the line “E-I-E-I-O,” Brett makes a finger point gesture. And with a roll of the wrist, he cues the line “and on that farm, he has a chicken.” To signal the last line, he quietly says “with a” and Quito sings “with a cluck, cluck here…”

She’s reinforced with her favorite treats, nuts and sunflower seeds, afterward. But putting the song together in the right order didn’t happen overnight. It took two to three years for her to nail it, and she pretty much brings her “A” game every time she hits the stage now. However, Brett says occasionally she likes to throw her own random phrases into the show.

He recalls being on stage a few months ago. “I said, ‘Are you ready to sing?’ and Quito replied, ‘Are you ready?’ And I thought, ‘Where did that come from?’ So I looked at her and I said, ‘Yeah I’m ready, let’s go!’ I reinforced her right after, because it was so cute.”

But it’s important to know that it’s not always cute and funny when you keep a parrot in your home. Many will go through seven to nine homes in their lifetime, because they’re one of the most challenging pets. They can bite very hard, talk and scream extremely loud, and live until they’re 60 years old. That’s quite a commitment.

So when you need an amazing parrot fix, come catch Quito singing at the Wildlife Amphitheater in ZooNorth on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., and on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m.

And share this special video of Quito in action with your friends:

Categories: Birds, Enrichment, Exhibits and Experiences, SOAR, A Festival of Flight presented by Kimberly-Clark | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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