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Category — Animals

Celebrating Earth Day with a Party for the Planet!

Happy Earth Day! While we encourage our community to be earth-friendly all year round, we’ll take the opportunity to really drive the message home during our 7th annual “Party for the Planet” next Thursday, April 28 from 4-8:30pm. It’s a celebration of the Earth, and a festival for all things “green” in Cincinnati. Businesses and organizations from around the region will be on hand at the Greenest Zoo in America to share their expertise and resources about living more sustainability within our communities. Topics include solar energy, composting, recycling, energy efficiency, green building, rain gardens/barrels, sustainable food, green products, beekeeping, and many more.

Excited to learn how to help our planet! (Photo: Fia Cifuentes)

Excited to learn how to help our planet! (Photo: Fia Cifuentes)

In addition to learning ways to go green, also visit the Go Green Garden for the 4th Annual Rain Barrel Painting Event, hosted by the Cincinnati Zoo, Save Local Waters and the Regional Stormwater Collaborative. Rain barrels are an easy and inexpensive way to conserve water and save money, and for homeowners to take one small action that collectively will have a major impact on our local environment. Local artists have done their part to motivate area homeowners to save rainwater in dazzling beautiful rain barrels. The typical dull green or drab rain barrel has been revamped into a creative and colorful accent piece that will make any homeowner proud to use in their landscaping. Participate in the People’s Choice Award and vote for your favorite painted rain barrel online.

Check out some of the beautifully painted rain barrels that will be up for auction.

Check out some of the beautifully painted rain barrels that will be up for auction.

Guests will be able to bid on their favorite barrels for purchase during a silent auction from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. Bids start at $90, increasing by $10. This year, we are also offering a “buy it now” price of $450. Cash, checks, and credit cards will be accepted. All proceeds benefit Save Local Waters and the Cincinnati Zoo for environmental education and sustainability projects.

Party for the Planet takes place during Tunes & Blooms, a weekly concert Thursdays in April, featuring local musicians. It is a wonderful way to enjoy the beautiful tulips and other spring flowers the Zoo has planted, listen to some great, local music, learn about ways to go green, and enjoy the spring evening with your family and friends. And, enjoy Zoo Blooms all around.

The Party is free with Zoo admission. Admission to the Zoo is FREE after 5pm and parking is $10.

Even the peacocks love the blooms! (Photo: Deb Simon)

Even the peacocks love the blooms! (Photo: Deb Simon)

April 22, 2016   No Comments

Grow the Zoo’s Best Plants for Pollinators in Your Own Yard

After more than 25 years of trialing plants, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden knows which plants grow and look best in our region. We’ve narrowed down that list to the plants that most benefit pollinators to create the Zoo’s Best Plants for Pollinators Plant Series.

Working with local plant growers, we have introduced a Zoo-branded line of plants that are easy-to-grow, beautiful, and pollinator-friendly. Available for purchase at many independent local garden centers, a portion of the proceeds support the Botanical Gardens at the Zoo. Download the list of plants and participating retailers here: Zoo’s Best Plants for Pollinators.

3D 1quart Zoo's Best 11-23-15(4)

Why plant for pollinators?

Pollinators are beneficial

All of us enjoy the beauty that the many species of butterflies and moths bring to our lives, and we depend on honeybees to pollinate a huge proportion of our food crops. That is just a small part of what pollinators do. Thousands of species of native bees, wasps, and flies ensure reliable pollination throughout the ecosystem so that abundant crops of seeds regenerate wild areas and also provide seeds and fruits for birds and other wildlife to eat. Just as importantly, many pollinating insects also prey upon pest insect species, such as aphids and scale, which ensures a more balanced, healthier garden and ecosystem.

Pollination in progress! (Photo: DJJAM)

Pollination in progress! (Photo: DJJAM)

Pollinators are under pressure

Pollinator numbers are falling due to loss of habitat and other pressures. Your yard can provide valuable habitat to help support healthy populations of pollinators.

Make your yard a thriving oasis for pollinators!

  • Include Zoo’s Best Plants for Pollinators in your yard to attract and provide for pollinators.
  • Limit use of pesticides. Only spray when necessary, seek expert advice, and follow label instructions exactly if you do use them.
  • Provide sources of water, such as a birdbath or a water feature.
Pipeline swallowtail on Zinnia Zahara 'Fire'

Pipeline swallowtail on Zinnia Zahara ‘Fire’

Come see us at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden!

These plants and many others are part of every Zoo visitor’s experience. Come see us! Enjoy our gardens as well as the World of the Insect exhibit to learn more about these fascinating and beneficial animals.

World of the Insect (Photo: DJJAM)

World of the Insect (Photo: DJJAM)

April 13, 2016   2 Comments

How to Keep Your Zoo Visit Alive After You Get Home

Guest blogger: Kristina Meek, Education Intern

Visiting the Zoo can leave you feeling refreshed, happy, and enlightened. Tap into that energy and think about how you can keep that excitement going for yourself and your family once you go back home. It can be a simple everyday act or a lifestyle change. Give these ideas a try and share your own suggestions in the comments.

Share what you learned. Don’t just share your photos on Facebook; share something more. Sit down with your family while the visit is still fresh in your minds and try to recall a “fun fact” about an animal. Then share that in a post. For example, share a picture you took of a giraffe with something like “Amazing — a giraffe has the same number of vertebrae in its neck as a person!” If you have a child in Zoo Troop and you’re sharing photos from class, remember to use the hashtag #cincyzootroop.

Capturing a moment to share on Facebook (Photo: Dr. ChengLun Na)

Capturing a moment to share on Facebook (Photo: Dr. ChengLun Na)

Learn more. Connect with the Zoo on social media and follow the Zoo blog to keep up with what’s going on with our animals, exhibits, events and conservation efforts. We are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Google+.

Appreciate the “wild” side of your pets. If you have a family dog, remind your kids that their pooch is related to the Mexican grey wolves you saw in Wolf Woods. Make similar connections for cats, birds or fish. Kids learn to respect nature when they see it reflected in their everyday lives.

Mexican grey wolf (Photo: Kathy Newton)

Mexican grey wolf (Photo: Kathy Newton)

Recycle and compost. You and your family have the power to keep the planet healthy for all animals… including humans! Curbside recycling has made reducing your trash a no-brainer. This website lets you search by ZIP code to find facilities to recycle items that can’t be put in your bin. Arguably even easier than recycling is composting. Here’s one source of information on how to do it. By disposing of food or yard waste in this responsible way, you’ll reduce the amount of greenhouse gases coming from landfills.

A.D.O.P.T. a Zoo animal. For as little as $30, you and your family can symbolically adopt anything from a meerkat to a manatee. You’ll get a color photo and fact sheet about the animal, plus additional benefits at higher giving levels. Your children will learn not only about animals, but about philanthropy and the great feeling you get when you give back.

Encourage backyard research. You can’t visit the Zoo every day, but if you have a backyard or a nearby park, there’s probably plenty of wildlife there doing its thing. Let your kids explore, on their own, or with you. They might identify birds, spot tadpoles in a creek, look for deer tracks, or learn to imitate an owl. Think of your surroundings as your own mini-zoo.

Volunteer. The Zoo offers volunteer opportunities for ages 13 and up, in a variety of roles that fit your talents. Likewise, park districts, nature centers, and museums need and appreciate the contributions of people like you. Start Googling and see what you discover close to home.

We love our volunteers! (Photo: DJJAM)

We love our volunteers! (Photo: DJJAM)

Thanks for visiting the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. We hope you’ll take a little piece of the Zoo with you wherever you are!

April 5, 2016   1 Comment