Did You Know?
Magellanic penguins are named after Ferdinand Magellan who first discovered them in 1519.
It’s easy to forget that the Zoo is open during the winter (and that admission is FREE through February!), since walking around outside isn’t exactly top of mind for everyone in Mid-Michigan on a brisk February afternoon. But the Zoo is open and almost all of our animals are still on exhibit thanks to plenty of indoor spaces for them to stay warm in. Nice weekends during the off-season draw lots of people out of their hibernation and provide plenty of viewing opportunities of some animals that are less active during warmer weather. Have you seen the video of Ramir playing in the snow over on our facebook page?
From November to March a lot happens behind the scenes as well. Our keepers still work their regular schedules to come in and care for the animals. In fact, the work they do doesn’t really change at all regardless of the weather. Our animals still need to eat of course, but enrichment becomes even more important when some of our warmer climate species don’t get to spend as much time outdoors as we would like them to. I must admit, before I worked at a Zoo, I assumed that the staff didn’t work a regular schedule in the off-season. Seems pretty silly in retrospect!
Aside from our keeper staff, our events team has been hard at work planning plenty of improvements to favorite annual events like the Wild 1-Mile, Wine & Stein, Zoo Days and the return of the Big Zoo Party! The education department is, as always, busy putting together another excellent year of the Big Zoo Lesson (ok, so we’re not a terribly creative lot when it comes to naming things…). Last, but certainly not least, our grounds crew is not only clearing our pathways each and every day, they are getting ready for the start of the spring season by grooming the grounds… when the grounds aren’t covered by snow.
If you haven’t been to the Zoo in a while, winter is a great time to check it out! Just remember what your mother said and wear a hat.
Also, I had to include that bit about the grounds crew because they threatened to bury my car the next time it snowed ;)