A Look Back at 2021: Top 3 ZooAmerica Highlights

To mark ZooAmerica's 43rd year of operations, our team compiled a list of the top three highlights at the Zoo in 2021. Read about them below!

ZooAmerica Welcomed New Babies and Arrivals in Summer 2021

It was an exciting (and busy) summer for our ZooAmerica team. We celebrated the birth of 12 prairie dog pups and two Canada lynx kittens. We also welcomed a female alligator snapping turtle from the St. Louis Zoo, a southern painted turtle from the Milton Hershey School and a skunk from another facility in Pennsylvania. You can learn more about these animals here.

ZooAmerica Granted AZA Accreditation Again in 2021 

In November 2021, we announced that ZooAmerica was again granted accreditation by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Accreditation Commission. Our facility underwent a thorough review and extensive inspection to ensure we met and will continue to meet ever-rising standards, which emphasize animal welfare and care, veterinary programs, conservation, education, and safety. ZooAmerica is one of only seven facilities in Pennsylvania to earn the prestigious recognition. The first year that the Zoo received accreditation was 1982. 

The accreditation process includes a detailed application and a meticulous, on-site, multiple-day inspection by an independent team of trained zoological professionals. The inspecting team observes all aspects of the facility’s operation, including animal welfare and well-being; veterinary care; keeper training; safety for visitors, staff, and animals; educational programs; conservation efforts; financial stability; risk management; governance; and guest services. Detailed reports from the inspection team and the facility alike are then thoroughly evaluated by the Commission. Finally, top officials are interviewed by the Accreditation Commission at a formal hearing, after which accreditation is granted, extended for one year, or denied.

2021 Marked 25 Years of Santa's Reindeer at Hersheypark Christmas Candylane 

One of the sweetest experiences of Christmas Candylane at Hersheypark is seeing all nine of Santa's reindeer. This past year marked 25 years of Rudolph and his friends making a special stop at the seasonal event. Hersheypark is the only place in the Northeast to get an up-close look at all nine reindeer. It's truly a magical experience! 

You may not know that our zoo staff takes care of the reindeer inside Hersheypark during their visit from the North Pole as they have for the last 25 years. They clean their living quarters, feed them and give them snacks (their favorite are apples and beet pulp), and spend time with them. Plus, some of our team members are on-site at Santa’s Reindeer Stables every operating day during Christmas Candylane to answer any guest questions.

Check out some fast facts about reindeer here and be sure to mark your calendar for Christmas Candylane in 2022.