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Zoo News: Summer has arrived at Roosevelt Park Zoo

Submitted Photo Kioni is one of the giraffes at Roosevelt Park Zoo in Minot. World Giraffe Day is celebrated at the Minot zoo and worldwide every year on June 21.

Thursday will be the first official day of summer. It will be the longest day of the year. World Giraffe Day is celebrated the following day. The holiday, celebrated every year on June 21, was established by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (G.C.F.) to celebrate the tallest animal in the world. World Giraffe Day takes place during the summer solstice.

This year, World Giraffe Day takes on even more meaning as the zoo embarks on the construction of the new African Plains Building. It is just another step in working to improve not only the lives of our giraffe herd, but a means to make them viewable to guests regardless of the time of year. Funds raised thus far will enable the zoo to complete the construction of the building but to finish the building will require more. Additional funds are being sought to add the restraint chute needed to improve the level of care the zoo can provide as well as an African aviary sure to delight guests regardless throughout the year.

A sure sign that summer is upon us is all the color throughout the zoo campus. The district Horticulture Department has completed its annual makeover of the zoo that only becomes prettier as the summer progresses. They truly transform the zoo into a local paradise both inside and around the zoo that sets the Roosevelt Park Zoo apart from all others in the northern hemisphere.

Along with all the beauty that the Horticulture staff cares for in the zoo, we rely heavily on both the Maintenance and Forestry Departments to make sure that guests’ visits are relaxing and enjoyable, but they mostly go unnoticed. Honestly, I’m certain they are called in to help more often than they would like, but it is hard to say what the zoo would be like if we didn’t have their support and, honestly, would hate to find out.

With the grounds and facilities supported by other departments within the Park District, that leads us to the animals. Summer is a time that all the animals are back in their habitats, enjoying the sunshine and the warmer temperature. The one exception might be the red pandas. While we do provide ample shade for them during the summer months, they are one of the few species whose care requirements are that they have access to temperatures not to exceed 70-degrees. As the day warms up, the likelihood of catching them on exhibit goes down, but honestly, early in the day is often the best time to see the animals at their best.

As each summer begins its season, it is a time to celebrate the color, the animals and all of the new experiences ahead. Embrace the season for it will be gone before we know it. Get outside and enjoy it and see all the changes ahead when you next visit the zoo. Thank you for your continued support and let’s go have some fun this summer.

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