The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is no longer in hibernation.
The zoo opened April 24, with face coverings encouraged and social distancing in effect for the time being, says Bonnie Kemp, director of communication.
“We know kids learn more and remember more when they’re actively involved and it gives them information and inspiration as to why it’s important to care for animals and all living things in the natural world,” Kemp says.
The non-profit organization on 40 acres exists to connect kids and animals, to strengthen families, and to inspire people to care about and be involved with animal conservation, Kemp says.
Last year’s zoo opening was delayed by two months and crowd capacity was limited. This year, activities are planned, camp registration is underway, there are newborn animals to see and the zoo is resuming plans for expansion.
There are many opportunities to touch or feed animals at interactive stations and to take rides in every area of the zoo, which includes the Central Zoo, African Journey, Australian Adventure and Indonesian Rain Forest.
Since the zoo was last open, giraffes, monkeys and kangaroos have given birth and more births are anticipated. As the animals expand their families, the zoo is also planning some expansions.
“COVID-19 delayed our planning and we’re still a couple years off, but we’re looking to update and enlarge some animal exhibit areas at the zoo,” says Kemp. “We’re always looking at ways to better care for our animals.”
The animals are in good hands every day, even when the zoo is closed in winter or for special reasons like the pandemic, says Kemp.
Several special activities are coming up soon.
The Zoofari fundraiser will be from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. June 10. Guests 21 and older will have the chance to sample food, beer and wine from more than 50 regional establishments as they stroll the zoo and enjoy music from local bands. Advanced tickets are required; the zoo is closed to the public on June 10.
Registration has opened for Kids for Nature eight-week summer camp for ages 4 to 12. The camp will run from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays June 7 through July 23. Campers will explore the zoo, visit friendly animals, meet zookeepers and get behind-the-scenes peeks at what goes on at the zoo, such as preparing food to feed the animals. All programs require advanced registration and openings are limited, so register early online at kidszoo.org.
Kids for Nature Play Day is June 2. The all-day event encourages kids to spend time outside and teaches families how easy it can be to explore nature in their own backyards.
For more information, tickets and registration, go to kidszoo.org. ❚