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It’s Christmas in July at the Montgomery Zoo for Animal Enrichment Day

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Join the Montgomery Zoo Saturday, July 22, 2017 from 10am – 2pm, for Animal Enrichment Day.  Tour the Zoo during the “Christmas in July” themed event and observe how animals respond to an assortment of new creative and behavior-stimulating enrichment items.  

More than 20 species will take part in the semi-annual event, including the sloth bear, lemurs, cheetahs, and elephants. Presented in the form of special toys, unique scents, puzzles, boxed goodies or food treats, the enrichment items provide Zoo animals with both mental and physical exercise.  

“Our animals’ well-being, health, and happiness is supported through opportunities to smell novel scents, taste different flavors, and explore new puzzles,” said Zoo Director, Doug Goode.  “Enrichment keeps them active and engaged while reproducing their natural behaviors.”  

The festive Christmas in July theme will play out at each enrichment session and includes holiday must-haves such as yule logs, stockings, candy canes, and a gingerbread house. The cheetahs will cool off with frozen gift boxes and ornaments made of ice and treats. The lemurs will bring the holly jolly to their habitat when they “Deck the Halls.”

The Zoo consults with national animal enrichment databases developed by government agencies and other zoos for assistance in selecting enrichment items. Zoo staff members evaluate enrichment items and approve them based on certain requirements.

The goal of Animal Enrichment Day is to safely stimulate and reproduce behaviors that are natural for each animal in the wild.  Placing different stimuli in the animals’ environment allows animals to use their five basic senses while they exercise.  It is a lot of trial and error, but it is always fun.  
The Montgomery Zoo provides enrichment to its animals on a daily basis, but this often takes place out of view from the public. Animal Enrichment Day allows the Zoo to share a daily activity with our guests and present it on a grander scale.  

Guests are encouraged to join in the holiday spirit by wearing green and red and donning their favorite Santa hats, jingle bells, and reindeer antlers. Individuals dressed in red or green or wearing holiday accessories will receive complimentary admission to the Mann Museum on the day of Animal Enrichment.

Animal Enrichment Day Schedule
10:00     Sloth Bear                        Yule log with meal worms
10:15     Squirrel Monkey              Stocking filled with favorite treats
              Spider Monkey                 
10:30     Capybara                         Frozen treats
10:45     Ring-Tailed Lemur           “Deck the Halls”
11:00     Maned Wolf                      Gift box filled with favorite treats
11:15     Jaguar                              Holiday ornaments filled with favorite treats
              Ocelot                                   
11:30     Cougar                             Holiday ornaments filled with favorite treats
              Lynx
11:45     North American                Christmas trees decorated with treats
              Hoofstock
12:00     Black Bear                       Snowman
12:15     Lion                                  Holiday ornaments filled with favorite treats
12:30     Cheetah                           Gift boxes filled with treats and frozen ornaments 
12:45     African Hoofstock            Christmas trees decorated with treats
1:00       Siamang                          Gingerbread house and gingerbread men
1:15       Elephant                          Large gift boxes and Christmas trees filled with treats 
1:30       Tiger                                Frozen meat ornaments
1:45       Asia Hoofstock                Christmas trees decorated with treats
2:00       Red River Hogs               Candy cane treats

Animal Enrichment Day is free for Zoo Members. Memberships can be purchased at www.montgomeryzoo.com/memberships or by calling 334-240-4900. Most members recoup the cost of their membership in as little as three visits. 

The Montgomery Zoo and Mann Wildlife Learning Museum is open daily from 9am-5:30pm with the last ticket being sold at 4pm. Animal exhibits begin closing at 4:30pm. Discount combo admission to the Zoo and Mann Museum is Adults $20, Children (3-12 years) $15, and Toddlers (2 years and under) Free. Regular admission to the Zoo only is Adults $15, Children (3-12 years) $11, and Toddlers (2 years and under) Free. Military and senior discounts and annual memberships are available. 

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The Montgomery Zoo and Mann Wildlife Learning Museum is a 42-acre zoological facility located minutes from the heart of historic, downtown Montgomery. 

The Montgomery Zoo is a Department of the City of Montgomery, Alabama

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