FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – One of the area’s most popular attractions opens for the season Saturday. The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo will open its gates at 9 a.m., for it’s 49th season.
“We’re glad opening day is here,” Cheryl Piropato, the education and communications director for the zoo, said. “We’ve been working for this for the last six months. Our crews have been very hard at work.”
Piropato said the zoo has about 80 employees who work year round. Then in the past couple weeks, hired dozens more people for the summer months. Friday night, those workers were getting some final training before the gates open.
“We have folks working in our concession stands, selling tickets, and operating rides,” Piropato said. “Those folks have just come on in the last week or two. They’re getting their final training sessions and will be ready to go.”
There are also several new animals to see this year. They include:
- A pair of Canadian lynx, named Loki and Thor, who arrived at the zoo this spring. The 11-month-old brothers, named Loki and Thor, were born on May 3, 2013 at the New York State Zoo in Thompson Park. Lynx are small wild cats native to the far northern United States and Canada. The lynx will live in the former bobcat exhibit.
- A baby colobus monkey born at the zoo in January will make his public debut sometime this spring. Obi is just beginning to explore the world on his own. Along with one-year-old half-sibling Kaasidy, there is sure to be plenty of action this summer in the African Village. Colobus monkeys are native to the forests of eastern and central Africa.
- A crocodile skink, hatched on February 10, will join its parents in the Indonesian Rain Forest later this season. These lizards are native to Southeast Asia.
- Two new bird species will be on display in the Central Zoo. Cabot’s tragopan pheasants, native to China, are an endangered species. Call ducks will be new to the Indiana Family Farm. These small ducks were bred in the Netherlands in the 1600s. Their small size, around two pounds, and loud voice made them popular as live decoy ducks.
Piropato said the two lynx are still a little shy, but have started to feel more comfortable.
A big renovation project has begun inside the Australian Adventure. Click here to learn more about the project.
“It’s going to be a big surprise,” Piropato said, as landscapers were making some finishing touches Friday evening. “It’s really beautiful, and just in the last week a lot of the little pieces have started to come together. This is just phase one of a big makeover in that area.”
Crews in the Australian Adventure were setting up tables at the Plaza, and make final preparations outside a new ice cream shop in that area.
Ticket prices for the zoo are:
- Adults: $14
- Children ages 2-18: $9
- Adults 60+: $10.50
For the first time, the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is offering general admission ticket sales online.