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Fort Wayne Children's Zoo animals spend the winter here, too

Thursday, February 14, 2013 - 10:56 am

Feb. 14, 2013

Here's a question we're often asked at the zoo: Where do all the animals go in the wintertime?

The answer: All of the animals remain right here at the zoo!

In the old days (the 1960s and 70s), the zoo shipped many of its animals to other facilities for the winter, but that practice was abandoned decades ago.

By keeping the animals here year-round, we can provide professional care 365 days a year. Only the ponies, which are owned by a private concession vendor, leave us in the fall to spend the winter on a local farm.

"We are committed to providing exemplary care throughout an animal's entire life," says zoo director Jim Anderson. "And that means we deliver excellent, consistent care all year long ."

Many animals, like the sea lions, bobcat and wallabies, remain outdoors all winter.

Tropical species, such as lemurs, capuchin monkeys and parrots, move indoors during the colder months. Many animals can switch indoors and out depending on the temperature.

For example, the lions have access to their outdoor yard as long as the temperature is above 20 degrees. For the colobus monkeys, the outdoor temperature needs to be above 40 degrees for safe outdoor access.

Our year-round staff of about 90 people stays busy in the winter months, providing animal care and planning for the coming season.

Dozens of additional staff are added in the spring to serve you, our guests, at rides, food concessions and at the entrance gate. See you on Opening Day on April 20!

Help us provide excellent animal care

Want to help make an animal's day? Join us at an upcoming Enrichment Workshop!

Adults, children, families and groups can help create enrichment items to stimulate animals' interest and encourage natural behaviors at an Animal Enrichment Workshop.

The next workshop is 10 a.m. Feb. 23. There's no charge, and nothing to bring. Click HERE to find out how you, your family, or your group can get involved.

Cheryl Piropato is education and communications director for the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo.