Posts Tagged With: thanksgiving

We’re thankful for so much…

On this national day of reflection, we pause to give thanks for so very much:

  •  Our residents. “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened,” said poet Anatole France. We couldn’t agree more. Our more than 2,000 animals are varied and vibrant, regal and recalcitrant, cranky and cuddly. They are newborns and retired senior citizens, brilliantly colored and camouflage-drab. They’re furry, and scaly, and leathery, and prickly. And we love them all. It’s an honor to care for them every day.

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  •  Our members and guests. Nearly 23,000 families are Zoo members, supporting us year-round. And on any given day, thousands of you visit, some for the first time and others for their hundredth. Rest assured, we appreciate every last one of you.
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Elephant keeper Katrina Bilski talks with a family about our “Golden Girls.”

  • The most dedicated staff ever. Doesn’t matter if it’s 7 degrees and snowing; if tornadoes are crossing overhead as lightning snaps; if it’s 109 in the shade. You know who’s at work every day? Zookeepers, guest services and park services staff, our maintenance crews, our veterinarians and their teams, our nutrition experts, our educators, our media team, our restaurant vendors. And those smiles on our faces? Simply because we love what we do.
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Assistant carnivore supervisor, Lisa Van Slett, helps remove leaves from the tiger habitat.

  • The greatest community anywhere. We greeted more than 1 million guests this fiscal year for the first time ever. As a non-profit zoo, that kind of support helps us constantly improve, making life better for animals both here and in the wild.
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The Martins were the Zoo’s millionth family in September.

  • Saving wildlife. In a time when we’ve seen the number of wild animals fall by half in just the past 40 years, we are thankful for our devoted conservation partners in the field. With donations and staff time or research, we support groups working for elephants, rhinos, giraffes, cheetahs, gorillas, horned lizards, ocelots, birds and many others.
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Mammal Curator Keith Zdrojewski works in the Democratic Republic of Congo with our conservation partner, GRACE (Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Center).

  • Kipenzi. We are still in awe that we could bring this beloved giraffe calf’s live birth to millions of people around the world. We were willing to “pull back the curtain” and invite you behind the scenes with our giraffe team and our vets, because we know they provide incredible care to these gentle giants. We were blown away by your words, reading comments like, “We watched the staff, so patiently waiting, and could tell how well loved this little girl would be.” And: “Her birth was just beautiful, and I feel so honored to have been able to witness it live. You have all forever touched my life.” We read every single comment, letter and email, and we laughed, cried and smiled with you. It was a magical time.

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  •  Support for our broken hearts. The other side of Kip’s story hit us so very hard, a powerful punch in the gut. When we lost her in that July accident, the pain went beyond words, to tears, nausea, despair. But as soon as we shared the tragic news, we were immediately enveloped in an outpouring of love and light from around the world. You told us by the tens of thousands, again, what she meant to you. You cried. You checked on our keepers (and still do). You sent food and flowers and the most gorgeous paintings and photographs, and your children drew heart-mending crayon pictures. You opened your arms and your hearts to us, as we had to you in April, and for that we will forever be thankful.

kipenzi drawing

  • Calm Texas weather. OK, not so much. (Just testing to see if you’re still reading!) It was a dark and stormy year, with another ice storm; rain and severe flooding almost every day in April and May; then a hot summer with virtually no showers at all. But we love Texas, and that means loving our crazy, yo-yo weather.
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A keeper braves February’s chilly temps to test water levels in the snow-covered Giants of the Savanna.

  • Dinosaurs. Giants of the Jurassic was a giant hit. (Admit it: our 25-foot, roaring T. rex made more than a few of you scream like a little kid.) Then, our zookeeper Tim Brys and his young son, Wylie, dug up a find of a lifetime: a real, 100 million-year-old dinosaur skeleton that’s now being restored and studied by scientists. We loved seeing this adorable 5-year-old talked about in the Washington Post, ABC’s World News Tonight, the BBC and other news outlets around the world.

tim and wylie

  • What’s ahead. It’s been a wild and wonderful year of animal-packed learning, science, and conservation. But we have even bigger hopes for the upcoming year! We await word on if we will be allowed to offer a home to six elephants from drought-ravaged Swaziland, Africa. Our Monorail Safari will reopen. In January, we launch an astonishing sculpture exhibit made with more than 700,000 LEGO® bricks by artist Sean Kenney. And we’ll have another big announcement in a few months, too, about a major improvement to your Zoo.

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We could go on and on, because we are thankful for so very much. But we’ll close, because well it’s time to feed the animals!

Happy Thanksgiving, with much love, from your Dallas Zoo family.

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How to have a blast at Dollar Day

Dollar Day at the Dallas Zoo is our way of giving back to our amazing community, and we want you to get the most out of your visit! Here are a few tips to help you navigate your_MG_2964-Family walking-CB way through Dollar Day.

  • Get here early. We open at 9 a.m., but the lines form well before that.
  • Parking is limited! A great option is to take the DART Red Line right to our door.
  • Download our free Dallas Zoo app on iPhone or Android to help you find your way around. (The blinking map dot shows where you are and what animals are close!)
  • Check the schedule as soon as you arrive – we’ve added shows, and you can plan your day around the ones you don’t want to miss (Cheetah Encounter, SOAR bird show, keeper talks).
  • Decide which half of the zoo you want to visit first: Wilds of Africa (lions, giraffes, elephants, zebras, Gorilla Trail), or ZooNorth (Children’s Zoo, reptiles, koalas, tiger, monkeys).
  • Don’t miss our babies in the Wilds of Africa: giraffe, mandrill, chimp! Giraffe Kopano is scheduled to be in the North habitat Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., although it always depends on many factors.
  • Be nice! It’s going to be a beautiful day, and we’re all lucky to be able to spend it at one of the nation’s best zoos! Please be patient in lines and with your fellow guests, and share window space.
  • If you have a problem or question, please find a uniformed staffer and ask for help. We’ve staffed up to be sure you have a great time!

It’ll be sunny and 65 degrees Wednesday, so we expect big crowds and lots of excitement. We can’t wait to spend the day before Thanksgiving with you and your family!

Categories: Dollar Day, Events, Exhibits and Experiences, Guest Services | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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