Thankful for Zoos

Halloween may be over, but more celebrations are just around the corner!  For zoos and aquariums, the winter holidays are a wonderful opportunity for public relations.  Zoos attract visitors by celebrating the winter holidays with various events like New Year’s parties and extravagant light shows.

The next major holiday coming up is Thanksgiving.  The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has already begun preparations for its Thanksgiving celebration.

On Thanksgiving day, November 26th, the Zoo will open its gates to the public for free.  That’s right.  Free.

What better way to attract the public to your zoo?  Free admission allows the Cleveland Zoo to expose new visitors to all it has to offer.  Guests can see all of the animals, enjoy the grounds and have a wild day, all courtesy of the Cleveland Zoo.

Tiger

Tiger at the Cleveland Zoo gets a frozen treat for Thanksgiving. 11/27/08

The Cleveland Zoo will also hold special animal enrichment activities for the animals throughout the day.  Last year I went to the Cleveland Zoo for this event and there were many special Thanksgiving-themed enrichment activities.

Many of the carnivores received turkey treats if their diet allowed.  Other carnivores, like the tigers,  received blocks of ice with meat and bones frozen in them.  Zookeepers threw these blocks of ice into the pool in the tigers’ enclosure.  The tigers then had fun trying to retrieve the ice and then get to the meat inside.

Polar Bear plays with a pumpkin

Other animals were given pumpkins to play with and munch on.  These enrichment activities are not only fun for the animals, they are exciting for visitors to watch.

Enrichment activities are also a good tool for teaching the public about the different animals.  It also gives zookeepers time to talk about conservation efforts and what the public can do to help save these magnificent creatures.

So this Thanksgiving, instead of sitting in front of the TV, consider spending the day at the zoo!  It’s free and you might actually learn something!

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