April 1, 2012
- This Week in Macaroni Kid CEM
- WIN: 4 Tickets to the Georgia Renaissance Festival
- Is Your Child Ready for Summer Camp?
- Summer Camp Spotlight: Cochran Mill Nature Center
- Summer Camp Spotlight: Hapeville Recreation
- Summer Camp Spotlight: Spivey Hall Education
- Easter Events Around Town
- Macaroni Review: Zoo Atlanta's New Wild Encounters
- Macaroni Tips: Eggs-actly!
- Dye Easter Eggs the Safe and All-Natural Way!
- Macaroni Made: Funny Bunny Face
- Macaroni Menu: Mom's Chicken Curry
- This Week's Picks
- This Week's Calendar
- Teen Scene
- Plan Ahead
- Welcome to Macaroni Kid!
- 2012 Macaroni Kid College Park Summer Camp Guide
- Join Macaroni Kid on Facebook!
Hand Feed the World's Tallest Living Land Mammals During Your Next Visit!
When you visit the zoo, the signs on the animal cages will usually say "Please Do Not Feed The Animals." But my mini Macaroni and I did just that when we recently met up with Abu the Giraffe, Kelly the Elephant and Slasher the Komodo Dragon at Zoo Atlanta.
Zoo Atlanta is now giving guests the opportunity to do more than just watch these animals from afar. Now you can actually get up close and personal with them for a little feeding (don't worry, lettuce and dead mice not humans are their special treats!!).
Zoo Atlanta rolled out this brand new visitor experience called Wild Encounters on March 31st and believe us it's an extra special treat that you'll want to try during your next visit to the zoo!
For the giraffe feedings, small groups are escorted to the Zoo's Twiga Terrace - the feeding and observation deck - where for $3 each guest receives two pieces of romaine lettuce (which is a regular part of a giraffe's diet.). And this is when the fun begins. You wave your lettuce in the air and wait for the giraffes to come by to eat.
Last week when we were invited to try out the giraffe feeding experience for ourselves, our family of giraffes eyed us very cautiously and the male did wander close to us, but he and the rest of the family chose not to eat on that morning. However, we were told in advance of the feeding that this is still as new an experience for them as it was for us, so there would be a 50/50 chance they would come by to eat. The guides also told us that as their trainers continue to work with them and the giraffes become more confident at being so close to strangers they'll start to warm up, so don't worry!
And, while my daughter was a tad bit disappointed that none of the giraffes wanted to eat her lettuce, I can't tell you how exciting the experience was overall. I've never been that close to a giraffe and couldn't believe just how beautiful, majestic (and yes, tall!) these animals are up close.
Next we moved into the Zoo's Wild Encounters program which is a series of up-close-and-personal encounters with some of the other animals. First, we got the chance to meet with one of the zoo's African elephants, Kelly. My daughter was so excited. All she kept asking was if she could go over and give Kelly a hug. While we weren't going to be able to hug the elephant, she and I did get to touch it and let me tell you, they feel nothing like what I thought an elephant would feel like. The elephant's skin was very hard (I'm guessing the layers of dried mud on its skin) and to our surprise a little hairytoo!! Our guide for the day probably described the way Kelly felt best, "just like a basketball."
After touching Kelly the elephant my daughter gave it a piece of romaine lettuce. I was most surprised that my brave three year old wasn't afraid. In fact, it didn't seem like any of the kids in our group were scared of any of the animals. One little boy couldn't wait to take on the Komodo Dragon! Overall, I think the adults were more tentative about the feedings than the children were to be honest.
In addition to the giraffes and elephants, there are two other wild encounter experiences Zoo Atlanta guests can participate in: Feed a Komodo Dragon and Feed a Giant Panda (we didn't get to experience the Panda feeding this time). So guests of all ages can get closer than ever before to these animals too.
So while the giraffes may or may not choose to feed during your own encounter visits, what this experience will offer Zoo Atlanta guests is the opportunity to do something they may never get to do unless they travel to Africa for a safari. The up close exposure helps children to understand and appreciate wildlife even more. And for that, I want to personally thank Zoo Atlanta for creating such a wonderfully educating experience for families.
For more information about any of these Wild Encounters visit www.zooatlanta.org.
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