Monday, June 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Sparky!



On Sunday we celebrated Sparky the sea lion's 18th birthday. Chino, Sparky's pool mate, came down at the end of the show and the entire audience sang happy birthday while Chino barked along. Sparky was born here at Como Zoo and is the first female Sparky to perform at Como in the 51 years that the Sparky show has been running.

Chino, being new to training, is not too sure of the adoring fans that flood the amphitheater, our plan is to incorporat him into the shows, but for now he's just getting used to everything. His eyes were as big as saucers when the audience starting singing happy birthday, but he stayed focused and finished the show with a wave.

Sparky sat up on her rock and gladly let everyone wish her a happy birthday.

Friday, June 27, 2008

AZA & Animal Planet Commercial

video

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Year of the Frog

Como Celebrates the Year of the Frog

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Eureka!




New recycling containers have been delievered to Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. Eureka Recycling has set up a new program at the Zoo and Conservatory. Plastic, glass, aluminum cans along with milk cartons and juice boxes can be recycled in these new containers. Also learn about recycling at the new Sparky show.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Summer Reading Kick-Off


Summer reading has finally started at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. On Thursday, June 4th MELSA kicked off the summer reading program. Events and activities included primate enrichment, DJ, face painting, puppet show and many others. This year's theme was "Look Whats Cookin." Though out the day you could see guests walking around the grounds wearing their own chief hats. Even the primates had their own hats and tee shirts to celebrate the day.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Blooming Butterflies

Friday, June 13, 2008

Happy Half Birthday Jaya!




Friday the 13th is a good day for the zookeepers. Today Jaya the male orangutan turns 6 months old! He had a precarious start, being born by C-section at the University of Minnesota and being raised by zoo keepers for the first 12 days of his life. We held him around the clock wearing a fake fur vest for him to cling to, feeding him bottles of formula and recording notes on his bowel movements, urination, and hiccups. The late night shifts made it particularily tough to stay awake as you watched him snooze on your chest so peacefully. Finally on Christmas Day, he was successfully introduced to his mother. We are all glad to see that he has grown and thrived in the first 6 months. Jaya will now venture away from mom Markisa for short periods climbing ropes or the mesh of the holding area, as well as put everything into his mouth, much like human infants. He is one of the cutest babies I've seen in a while. The orangutans are now on their outside exhibit and can usually be found lounging with fabric or a swimming pool over their heads for relief from the busy day. They do have the ability to go inside if they choose, so if you don't see them outside, they'll be inside hamming it up in front of the exhibit glass.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

School Group Season



During this time of year hundreds of school age children visit Como Park Zoo and Conservatory through out the week. It is a sight to see as bus after bus unloads in front of the Conservatory. Looking out the windows of the Visitor Center around 10 am you will be able to see this rainbow mob waiting to get into the zoo. When the doors open you can just feel the excitement of these groups as they walk by. If you are brave enough to go to the 11:30 am Sparky show you will get the full effect of the excitement at Como Zoo. As soon as Sparky enters the stage a thunder of applause and screams echo throughout the entire zoo. By 2 pm the buses are being loaded and the Zoo and Conservatory becomes quiet and peaceful while it waits in anticipation for tomorrows groups.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Blooming Butterflies is a blooming success!
















This weekend was the grand opening of Blooming Butterflies, a summer exhibit of butterflies from around the world. Thousands went through the giant caterpillar shaped building this weekend, taking countless numbers of pictures. Children and adults alike reached out their arms hoping to supply a landing spot for the approximately 500 butterflies fluttering throughout the exhibit. One gentleman I spoke with had gone through three sets of batteries for his digital camera! Another was taking pictures of all the plants in the exhibit to bring to his landscaper to attract butterflies at his own home. Blooming Butterflies is a great resource for getting some amazing shots of butterflies. I saw people taking pictures with disposable cameras, cell phones, and some super high tech digital cameras with lenses longer than my arm. Even the amateur photographer can get a great picture as the butterflies literally are close enough to touch, although we ask that you don't touch them, rather let them touch you. I think it is great to see the delight on the visitors' faces when a butterfly swoops past them or lands on them. They are truly amazing creatures with such a wide array of colors and patterns. My favorite so far is the Glasswing Butterfly. We only have a few flying through the exhibit and they are difficult to spot because they are small and their wings are transparent except for the edges, but they are simply gorgeous! Blooming butterflies will be open all summer long with new butterflies being released into the exhibit on a regular basis. Stop by and test your photography skills.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Definitely not Ugly Ducklings...



We recently had some ruddy ducklings hatch out. The eggs were laid while the animals were still in the Animal Support Building, so we put them in the incubator when the birds moved out to the bird yard. One morning they had cracked their shells and were huddled together in the back of the incubator. They are growing like weeds and at only two weeks old are nearly full grown. We are now slowly lowering the temperature of their holding and once they've been checked over by the veterinarian, banded for identification, and vaccinated, they will join the other Ruddy ducks in the bird yard. Cute little things aren't they!