Archive for Australian Adventure
Tasmanian Devils Returning to Zoo
After an 11-year absence, Tasmanian devils will soon return to the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo as part of an Australian program to save these unique animals from extinction.
“We are very eager to share Tasmanian devils with our fans and to participate in an important conservation effort,” said Zoo Director Jim Anderson.
The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo was selected to receive Tasmanian devils from Australia through the Save The Tasmanian Devil Program, which is administered by the Australian government. It is not yet known how many Tasmanian devils will come to Fort Wayne or when they will arrive.
A parasitic transmissible cancer known as Devil Facial Tumor Disease has wiped out nearly 70% of the wild Tasmanian devil population in the past decade. The devils slated to arrive in Fort Wayne will be disease-free and will be part of an “insurance population” for this endangered species. This insurance population could serve as a back-up in the event that Tasmanian devils became extinct in the wild.
From 1987-2004, the zoo housed 12 Tasmanian devils, more than any other North American zoo. One of these devils was Coolah, who was the last Tasmanian devil living anywhere in the world outside of Australia when he died in 2004.
“Our expertise with Tasmanian devils and commitment to caring for this species most likely played a role in our selection by the Australian government,” said Anderson.
The Tasmanian devils will be exhibited in the Australian Adventure, which is currently undergoing a $7 million renovation.
Native only to the Australian island of Tasmania, Tasmanian devils have long fascinated Americans, especially as the wildly spinning cartoon version “Taz” grew in popularity. These furry black marsupials (pouched mammals) are about the size of a small raccoon. Tasmanian devils are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
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Wild Zoo Halloween presented by Edy’s
Wild Zoo Halloween Presented by Edy’s kicks-off in 2 days, and the zoo is filling with straw bales and pumpkins!
Maintenance Director Byron Hattaway oversees the large haul of pumpkins and other Halloween decorations that adorn the zoo every year, “The zoo brought in 400 bundles of corn stalks and about a dozen bushels of corn for decoration this year,” states Hattaway. “The zoo also uses around 500 bales of straw for decoration and to build the mini maze for the little ones.”
Pumpkins continue to roll in from the field during the first two weeks of October. Guests often want to know how many pumpkins the zoo brings in each season. Hattaway acknowledged that, “Pumpkins are a bit more of a guess. Between [regular pumpkins] and the squash and funny shaped pretty gourds it could be 10 or 12 dump trucks full.”
Any way you size it up, that’s a LOT of pumpkins!
Here are the answers to some of the other frequently-asked Halloween questions:
Is there a member discount?
Yes! Zoo Members get $2 off admission at the gate and online.
Are the treats orangutan-friendly?
All treats offered at the Wild Zoo Halloween Presented by Edy’s are palm-oil free or are manufactured by companies that are members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). The sustainable production of palm oil is crucial to the survival of orangutans, because their rain forest habitat is often destroyed to create poorly managed and unsustainable palm oil plantations. Download a Palm Oil Shopping Guide to help you make orangutan-friendly choices when you shop.
Is the whole zoo open?
Wild Zoo Halloween Presented by Edy’s activities are located in the Central Zoo and portions of the Australian Adventure. The African Journey and Indonesian Rain Forest will not be open during the Wild Zoo Halloween Presented by Edy’s.
Can anyone trick or treat?
Guests of any age can purchase the Admission + Trick-or-Treating package, which allows collection of 10 treats and a pumpkin from the Pumpkin Patch.
Get the Scoop on Australia
We’re building a new Australian Adventure! Phase I is already underway and includes a new Ice Cream Shoppe, expanded seating for the Outpost Grille, new restroom facilities, and a new entrance near the train station. Oh, and speaking of the train, crews are installing a new grade-level train crossing complete with authentic railroad crossing gates.
The Australian Adventure first opened in 1987, funded entirely with donations. The new Australian Adventure will be built with donations as well. Construction for Phase I of this $7 million project is well underway, and we’ve already raised more than $5 million toward our goal. You can help by purchasing an engraved Recognition Tile with your contribution of $400. Contributions of $1000 or more will also be recognized on a permanent aluminum plaque.
Your Recognition Tile will be part of a one-of-a-kind sculptural display near new Australian Adventure entrance. We’ll engrave your tile with your family name, the names of your children or grandchildren, or in memory of a loved one.
What will Phases II and III have in store? Plenty! Here’s a condensed version of the plans:
Welcome to Stingray Bay
See eye to eye with gentle stingrays as they glide across a shallow pool in a brand-new exhibit that’s sure to be a highlight of the new Australian Adventure. Housed in the former Australia After Dark building, Stingray Bay features up-close viewing opportunities and state-of-the-art life support systems. A limited number of guests will have the chance to touch the stingrays under the guidance of zoo staff – a truly amazing experience!
Splash in Crocodile Creek
Go ahead – kick off your shoes and wade into Crocodile Creek! Like a cool oasis in the Australian Outback, Crocodile Creek beckons with clear water and large boulders. Kids wade in the shallow water, building dams with small rocks or making tiny rafts from sticks. Shaded benches await nearby for those who prefer to rest.
Dive in the Great Barrier Reef
From the Australian Adventure Plaza, stroll over to Stingray Bay or the completely remodeled Great Barrier Reef Aquarium, showcasing the diversity of the world’s largest coral reef system.
New themed displays and interactive elements enliven your experience among our ocean wonders. Sharks, jellyfish, and tropical fish benefit from all-new life support and filtration systems designed to keep the salt water tanks crystal clear.
The Land of Birds
Cross the bridge into the Outback and experience the magic of Australia’s vast, desert interior. Encounter a few of Australia’s 800 species of birds, including the strikingly-colored galah, also known as the rose-breasted cockatoo. Walk through a brand-new aviary teeming with cockatiels and magpies. Brightly-colored rainbow lorikeets nibble on nectar, just like they would in the wild.
Nearby, four-foot-tall emus strut across their yard, showing off their shaggy gray feathers. In the background, you hear the distinct call of a flock of kookaburras. Hoo-oo-oo-oo-ah-ah-ah!
Meet the Reptiles
Have you ever encountered a shingle-backed skink? How about a spotted python? These and other Australian reptiles greet you in the renovated Australian Adventure. Stop by the tin-roofed hut and get nose-to-nose with these scaly creatures.
Meet the Mob
The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo was among the first to unveil a walk-through kangaroo experience when the Australian Adventure first opened in 1987. This one-of-a-kind journey continues as you stroll among our mob of eastern grey kangaroos, which is one of the largest in any North American zoo. Watch for ‘roos hopping across the path in front of you!
Say G’Day to the Dingoes
As Australia’s top predator, dingoes have been persecuted and hunted for bounty. The zoo’s dingo pack is among the largest in the country. On cool summer mornings, watch as the energetic dingoes explore their exhibit bordering the Outback Adventure River Ride.
Float on the River Ride
You’ll be drawn to a relaxing float on the Outback Adventure River Ride. Already the most popular ride in the zoo, exciting improvements will make the ride even better. Authentic Outback details – as well as a few surprises – bring out the explorer in you! Like all zoo rides, the Outback Adventure River Ride generates important income to support your non-profit zoo.
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