08:00 AM

ZooAmerica Looks to Welcome Spring

Warmer temperatures are on the way and after the long, cold winter, days spent inside will soon be behind us.

One of my favorite spring trips is a visit to ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park where more than 200 animals make their home. The Zoo is comprised of the five regions of North America: Southern Swamps, Northlands, Big Sky Country, Eastern Woodlands and The Great Southwest. I enjoy seeing and learning about the animals who live on my continent and in my backyard since I may, or may not, have the opportunity to encounter them in the wild.

ZooAmerica is a member of the prestigious Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science, and recreation.

The animals that live at ZooAmerica would be unable to survive in the wild. Many have been injured and treated by wildlife rehabilitators before coming to the Zoo. Others have been raised by humans and would be a danger to both themselves and to humans if they were released into the wild.

ZooAmerica also participates in the Species Survival Plan (SSP) coordinated by AZA. The Zoo’s Thick-billed Parrots are an example of the work being done at the Zoo, which is home to several of these endangered birds whose natural habitat is Mexico. The birds were selected and paired by AZA to provide the best genetic representation in offspring that are hatched in captivity and a Thick-billed Parrot was born at ZooAmerica in August 2014.

ZooAmerica is 11 acres, a very manageable size for everyone in the family, and it is completely accessible. Walkways and bathrooms accommodate both wheelchairs and strollers.

Since the Zoo focuses on North American animals, many of the Zoo’s residents live outside the entire year. It is wonderful to see the pronghorn and American elk in Big Sky Country and then continue along the path and encounter the Gray Wolf and Snowy Owl in the Northlands.

Animals who live in warmer climates are inside The Southern Swamps or The Great Southwest in the Desert Building which includes a nocturnal wing.

Animals do seem to be more active in the mornings, but any time is a good time to visit the Zoo which opens daily at 10 a.m. and closes at sunset.

Check www.ZooAmerica.com for hours and admission rates. Follow the Zoo on Facebook where you will find great pictures and information posted by one of the Naturalists.