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2014 Happy Holidays & Blank Park Zoo Year in Review


Do the Zoo. Do the Blank Park Zoo. Iowa’s
Wildest Adventure when you Do the Zoo. Thank you for supporting the work of the Blank Park
Zoo. You have helped make Blank Park Zoo a success as we continue our mission of education,
conservation and recreation. The zoo had another record year with over 450,000 people visiting
the zoo, attending a special event or learning from one of our educators. Nearly 35,000 people
attended our record-breaking Night Eyes. We also set an attendance record for Zoo Brew
with over 24,000 people attending these fun Wednesday nights throughout the summer. These
numbers were made possible in part by over 5,400 volunteer shifts. In the area of education,
zoo staff hosted an evening of STEM educational opportunities, conducted 1,131 education programs
to over 58,532 students, provided camp opportunities to 754 campers and coordinated field trips
for nearly 30,000 students and chaperons. The animals are what the zoo is all about
as they help to connect our guests with the natural world. Blank Park Zoo’s collection
is constantly changing and growing helping to fulfill our mission. This past year saw
the loss of two of the zoo’s most beloved animals: Shani, the giraffe, and Kavacha,
the tiger. Many visitors remember both of these animals as they serve as animal ambassadors
for their species, teaching young and old alike they need to protect wildlife from extinction.
Blank Park Zoo brought in a team of experts to remove Zoey, the sea lion’s, cataracts.
The surgery was a success and part because animal keepers trained Zoey for two years
to take eye drops and be comfortable with the anesthesia process. This will greatly
improve Zoey’s vision and quality of life. The zoo is becoming more winter-friendly and
last year we opened a year round Bactrian Camel exhibit, a new indoor penguin and tortoise
exhibit building and added heat to the underwater seal and sea lion viewing area. The Blank Park Zoo
Conservation Alliance launched Plant. Grow. Fly – an effort to restore native pollinators,
like bees and butterflies, by asking people to plant a butterfly garden. Last year over
ten organizations joined our efforts and one-hundred people registered their garden as part of
the Plant. Grow. Fly. initiative. 2014 has been a great year but 2015 is upon us and
Blank Park Zoo has another big season planned. The Conservation Lecture Series returns in
February, March and April. Enjoy three evenings dedicated to learning about the conservation
of the natural world. Eggstravaganza returns April 4 as thousands of children hunt for
Easter eggs and zoo animals enjoy Easter treats. Dreamnight is a special, private, cost-free
evening for terminally ill and disabled children and their families. Approximately 180 zoos, all around the world,
participate in the special evening in June. Blank Park Zoo’s annual gala event, Zoobilation,
will return on June 19 with music, food and fun all to benefit the animals and programs
of Blank Park Zoo. Zoo Brew has grown to be one of the more popular events in Des Moines
and we’ll be kicking off the event on April 30 with a Zoo Brew reveal party. Then, the
fun begins on Wednesday evenings in June, July and August with this twenty-one and older
event that features music, fun and brews. Join us for family fun on July 11 for the
Adventure Days Festival. Music, craft activities and more will be part of this event for the
entire family. Just when you think the summer is over Zoo Brew will be back one more time
in the fall when Blank Park Zoo puts its own twist on Oktoberfest celebrations with Zooktoberfest.
Night Eyes returns in October for its twenty-fifth year. As always we’re excited to see the zoo
filled with princesses, cowboys and goblins for the number one children’s Halloween event
in Iowa. Get your jingle bells ready because internationally-known, celebrity Santa is coming back
to the zoo with a couple of reindeer. Meet Jolly ol’ St. Nick himself, drink some hot
chocolate and write a letter to the North Pole at this fun event in December. 2015 will
bring new animals to Blank Park Zoo with Addax, an African antelope, as well as two new bird
species, the Ground Hornbills and Golden Weavers. Misha, the Amur tiger, has arrived at the
zoo and will be joining Goldy in the tiger exhibit in a few weeks. Thank you for all
your support throughout the past year and we hope our partnerships will continue in
2015. None of this would be possible without your help. Next year is sure to be another
huge season a Blank Park Zoo, Iowa’s Wildest Adventure.

Stephen Childs

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