Donkeys gallop around their pen, goats and sheep rub up against the fence, demanding to be petted, and reindeer huddle in the shade.
The Roosevelt Park Zoo isn't open for visitors, but some of the petting zoo animals have moved back into their old digs recently.
"They're very happy," said Lynsi Schneider, North American animal keeper.
Andrea Johnson/MDN • Some of the petting zoo animals are back in their old quarters at the Roosevelt Park Zoo, but the zoo isn’t open for visitors
Some of the petting zoo animals had been staying temporarily at a warehouse owned by Ward County. Bird and reptile keeper Sarah Schoenberg said the warehouse was suitable for the zoo's needs, but it wasn't ideal.
The return of some of those animals, including kangaroos and owls and Flemish rabbits, has boosted the morale of the zookeepers as well as the animals themselves. It is one more sign of recovery from last summer's catastrophic flood.
Schoenberg said some of the other animals used in the zoo's outreach program are housed separately. Other animals from the zoo are housed at zoos around the country and, in some cases, the zoo is paying for their food and upkeep at those locations. Other zoos took the animals on gratis.
Zoo director David Merritt said the zoo is making slow but steady progress. Volunteers and building contractors have done some work on the zoo grounds and buildings. Three major contracted projects have been completed and three other contracted projects are currently under way. Zoo staff are working in the new zoo office.
Merritt said the zoo isn't open and the public should not visit the zoo grounds at this time because of all the projects that are under way. However, the zoo office is open for business. People who want to contact the zoo should call 857-4166 rather than visiting the zoo office without an appointment.