As the snow and sleet once more hit the Upstate, several of our planned playgroups were cancelled and rescheduled. Somewhat desperate to get out of the house last week we headed to the zoo. Many of the animals were hiding indoors from the cold, but a few were enjoying the fresh air and with a stop at concessions for hot chocolate it was a very pleasant afternoon.
|The alligators and snapping turtles cuddling in the cold weather|
The grand opening of the South American Aviary exhibit was a couple weeks ago, just before the first of the cold hit. On our visit zookeepers were busy trying to catch the sun conures to move them indoors to warmer quarters where the other birds were already waiting. The redesigned exhibit offers a much larger space for the eight different species of birds, and gives visitors a taste of what is to come this year in the South American department.
What was formerly the elephant exhibit will make its debut as the South American mixed-species exhibit this summer. Construction is well underway on the area that will feature giant anteaters, rheas and mara, as well as plants and grasses native to their South American home.
Another recent development is the new Nature’s Nook play area located adjacent to the aviary. What used to be a bear sculpture and a couple of picnic tables is now an unstructured play area for kids. Featuring exploration tables, musical instruments and the building blocks I wrote about a while back, I can imagine this area will be a big hit once the weather warms up. Nature’s Nook was made possible through a grant from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund and the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), who announced last September that Greenville Zoo was granted AZA accreditation.
Many of the animals are used to warmer weather and were hiding indoors, such as the orangutans and most of the other primates. Bob, the baby Bornean orangutan (actually born in 2006) left us in December for his new home at the Oregon Zoo in Portland, Oregon as part of the Orangutan Species Survival Program breeding program. We're happy Bob is getting along with his new friend Kumar…
Meanwhile the Amur leopards were loving the cold weather and patchy snow. I have rarely seen them moving around as much as during this colder weather.
Yesterday we woke to an inch of snow, and as the morning zoo trip was cancelled we headed to Falls Park with a sled borrowed from the neighbors. The weather forecast for this evening calls for more snow; I don’t want to jinx it, but we could sure use another few inches… Warm wishes to all of our friends at the zoo, we’ll be back to see you soon!