It’s time for another season of family fun at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo as it opens for the year Saturday.
Zoo Director Jim Anderson said the zoo has had 30-40 zoo keepers at the zoo seven days a week taking care of the animals in the off season, and both keepers and animals are ready for the season.
Anderson said the opening of the zoo is a “right of spring” for the city.
More than 600,000 people visit the zoo every year, making it northeast Indiana’s largest tourist attraction. It is also consistently named one of the nation’s “Top Ten Zoos for Kids” by national media outlets.
Guests to the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo in 2018 can expect a variety of new residents and attractions, including new Red Panda Justin who came to the zoo from the Memphis Zoo this off-season.
One difference at the zoo will be Monkey Island, which is under construction and will be closed for the season as crews renovate the 52-year-old exhibit. The project will also include a new river otter exhibit.
Anderson said the 2018 season will be another chance for the zoo to introduce animals to guests and share their passion.
“When we open this zoo, we get to share with the community and share with our guests what we do,” said Anderson. “We get to share our love of these animals that we value so much. Love up the goats, or pet a stingray or feed a giraffe, or talk to one of our divers underwater.”
Anderson said it’s not all fun and games though. It’s also about raising awareness for conservation efforts. Each year, the zoo contributes more than $250,000 to local, regional, and international efforts to protect wild animals and their habitats.
“Ultimately, we want to make that connection between our guests and our animals and say, ‘Hey, we should also care about stingrays in the wild and giraffes in the wild and goats on the farm. So we try to excite our guests about animals,” Anderson said.
Gates open Saturday at 9 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. You can find ticket information or buy memberships here.