Blank Park Zoo Announces Summer Season

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Blank Park Zoo Announces Summer Season


It’s a Prehistoric Party
Blank Park Zoo releases its summer lineup for 2011

For Immediate Release
DES MOINES, Iowa (February 8, 2011) - Iowa’s only accredited Zoo announced today its spring and summer lineup that includes Dinosaurs, an all-new Australian Adventure and several new events.

“This summer will be a ‘prehistoric party’ at Blank Park Zoo,” said Mark Vukovich, CEO of Blank Park Zoo. “We are having a ton of events, new exhibits and of course, lots of fun. You’ll want to ‘Do the Zoo’ several times this summer. It will be Dino-mite.”

The kick-off of the spring event season is Eggstravaganza, an Easter egg hunt. Summer brings Adventure Days - a series of fun, family-friendly events. Fan favorites such as Zoo Brew, Feast in the Wild and Night Eyes also return. To round out the event season, Creature Crawl, an event for adults will be held on Halloween.

Blank Park Zoo will also make field trips extremely affordable this spring by introducing $2 per child admission on K-12 field trips.

“Field trips are usually one of the first things eliminated during education budget cuts,” said Vukovich. “The Zoo wanted to show our commitment to the importance of educating children about animals and conservation.”

There will also be a chance to win an opportunity to swim in the Sea Lion pool.

Here’s a list of happenings at the Blank Park Zoo this spring/summer:

• Dinosaurs- The prehistoric party begins in the Dino-Plex (ZooPlex) where guests will see amazing creatures in scenes from the past. Visitors will learn what a pachycphalosaurus eats for a snack and the habitat of a family of maiasaura. The replicas range from full scale to half scale and are up to 32 feet long. Several of the replicas use animatronics to move and amaze. This exhibit will be free with regular admission and free for members. Dino-Mite! (May 27 – September 5, 2011)

• Australia Adventure- The exhibit will feature several new animal species, and Australian theming. Guests will learn how a boomerang works, take a picture next to a didgeridoo and more. A new, modern animal holding area will be constructed along with a remodeled train station. (Opens July 2011)

• New Sea Lion Pool- It’s time for a new Sea Lion & Seal pool and the Blank Park Zoo will be constructing a new pool this spring. This will allow for visitors to see seals and sea lions underwater, and will allow keepers to bring more animals to the Zoo. (opens July 2011)

• Cassowary- This large, Australian bird looks like an Emu with a colorful neck waddle, and will be coming to the new Australian Adventure at the Blank Park Zoo.

• Wonga Pigeons- You’ll want to listen for this pigeon’s high-pitched coo this summer, new to the Australian Adventure at the Blank Park Zoo.

• Australian Crested Pigeon- What is grey, brown with a little orange mixed in? The crested pigeon, of course. Listen for this bird’s whoop sound in the new Australian Adventure.

• Stingray- A new Amazon River ray, Potamotrygon motoro, is NOW swimming around the Amazon River exhibit in the Discovery Center. 

• Stony Coral Propagation Room- This new water lab exhibit will showcase our efforts to grow coral to supply Blank Park Zoo and other zoos nationwide.

• Fish- Over 75 new fish have been added to the Blank Park Zoo’s aquarium tanks over the winter.

• New Interactives- Thanks to John Deere Foundation, the Great Cats, Discovery Center and Kids’ Kingdom are going to be equipped with all-new interactives. The first to be completed is the Great Cats, which will include interactive signage, rock steps to help children see into the exhibits, and an all-terrain safari vehicle photo opportunity. (Opens April 2011)

• Coins for Conservation- This year, the Blank Park Zoo is making a new commitment to conservation in the wild. A portion of every admission and membership will support an external conservation effort. The Zoo has setup three special machines, and visitors will get to vote on the project they would like to support. 

• Expanded Zoo Hours Return- Last summer’s extended hours on Friday nights were a hit, so they return this summer. (Summer Hours 10 a.m. -  5 p.m., April – October, open until 8pm on Fridays, Memorial Day – Labor Day)

• Prehistoric Field Trip Pricing- Blank Park Zoo has reduced the price of Kindergarten through grade 12 field trips to only $2. “You’ll have to go back to prehistoric times to find a field trip so affordable,” said Mark Vukovich, CEO. School groups that wish to participate must pre-register at and be from a recognized school.

• Summer Safari Day Camps, expanded all-day camps will return this summer for children in Grades 1-7. Half-day camps will also be available for children ages 3-5. Online registration will soon be available at

• ZooTots- Join some furry, feathery, slimy and fuzzy animal friends in an exciting, hands-on adventure. We will read books, make crafts, and eat some yummy animal snacks.  Classes will be held at 9:15 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 2:00 p.m. on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. (Now through March 12)

• Zoo Tots Cooking- Classes consist of exciting cooking lessons right here at the Zoo. Each week, you and your toddler will cook a treat and participate in fun activities.  These classes will be held on Mondays and Thursdays at 9:15 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.  (Now through March 17)

• Zoodlers! is a new drop off class for children 3-5 years of age. Children will attend every Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/ Thursday for 4 weeks. Classes will be held from March 21-April 14 from 9:30-11:30 a.m.  During Zoodlers!, children will participate in fun games and crafts, explore the Zoo, read a story, have a snack and meet an animal friend!  Zoodlers! is a great way to get ready for pre-school and spend some time at the Blank Park Zoo!

• Eggstravaganza- Kick off Blank Park Zoo’s 2011 season at “Eggstravaganza.” Children of all ages will be on a safari Easter egg hunt. Some of the animals will participate in an egg hunt of their own. Activities include making enrichment items for the animals ranging from paper maché
 eggs to dying eggs. Photo opportunities with the Easter Bunny will be available. April 23, 2011.

• Adventure Days- Enjoy activities, costume characters and fun during six days this summer. Themes include photography, music, dinosaurs and conservation.

• Blank Park Zoo’s “Big Dig for Africa”- What could this event be about? It’s a big secret…we’ll release more details soon.

• Swim at the Zoo- It’s time for the Sea Lions and Seals to have a new pool at Blank Park Zoo. The Zoo will be rebuilding the pool this spring and we’re going to have a contest for a chance to swim in the pool before the animals. More details to be released soon.

• Feast in the Wild- Guests travel through a culinary safari and taste foods from around the world as well as from their own backyard. Enjoy entertainment throughout the day, an inflatable bounce house for children, cooking demonstrations, live music, and animal demonstrations. (July 23 & 24, 2011)

• Wildlife Conservation Series- The Blank Park Zoo is excited to announce two conservation events in 2011! The evening events will feature guest speakers from the Snow Leopard Trust and the International Wolf Center. Learn how these organizations are working to save amazing creatures and how we can do our part to ensure the future of their work.
“An Evening for Snow Leopards” – March 20, 2011
“An Evening for Wolves” – August 7, 2011

• Zoo Brew returns with fun evenings every Wednesday this June & July. Each 21-and-over event will feature beer or wine sampling, live music and, of course, all of the animals at the Blank Park Zoo. The event is FREE with paid Zoo Admission and free to Blank Park Zoo Members. 

• Safari Splash- When mother nature turns the heat up in August, kids at the Blank Park Zoo will be cooling down. During the first week of August, children will enjoy a wet-and-wild time as they ride the inflatable slip-n-slide. In addition, guests will enjoy cool treats and watch how some of the Blank Park Zoo animals stay cool during the ‘dog days’ of summer. (August 1-5)

• Uptown Hoedown-  Leave your black ties and ball gowns at the cleaners, grab your dancing boots and join us Friday, September 16, 2011 for a wild and exotic country - style gala to benefit the Blank Park Zoo. Guests will explore the Zoo, enjoy a cocktail hour, dinner and great entertainment throughout the evening. Funds from the Uptown Hoedown support the educational programs at the Blank Park Zoo as well as the training, veterinary care and general operations related to managing the animal collection.

• Night Eyes- Everyone’s favorite trick-or-treat event returns this October for its 21st straight year of “merry not scary” fun. Over 500,000 treats will be passed out at the number-one family Halloween event.

• Creature Crawl: An Evening with Cocktails & Costumes
Celebrate Halloween at the Blank Park Zoo this year! This adult-only event will be one you’ll not want to miss as guests trick-or-treat through the Zoo for cocktails and food! Be sure to wear your favorite costume to be entered in our costume contest! (Monday, October 31, 2011)

• Blank Park Zoo, Living History Farms & Science Center of Iowa Tri Membership Pass- This is the sixth anniversary of when three great Iowa non-profits combined forces to offer a unique pass for the greatest attractions around. For only $219, you and your family can experience the fun and excitement of all these attractions for a whole year.

• Blank Park Zoo Membership - The $89 Blank Park Zoo family member pass will be the best value to return for each of the Zoo’s new attractions. In addition to free, year-round admittance to the Blank Park Zoo and free or discounted admission to 160 other Zoos, this year every member (adult and child) will receive one free train ride on “Member Mondays” and free admission to Zoo Brew and Adventure Days.

• Group Safari Packages- The Blank Park Zoo is perfect for family reunions, company picnics and meetings, group outings and more. Enjoy all the animals and activities the Zoo has to offer at a reduced cost. Ask about our special group tours and meal packages.

• Birthday Parties- The best place to take the kids is now the wildest place for a birthday party. Check out for details.

• ‘Wild’ Summer Jobs- Look for our summer job fair announcement during spring break. Positions include cashiers, train driver, retail, camp instructors, exhibit interpreters and seasonal keepers.

• Volunteers- Volunteers work in many areas of the Zoo including horticulture, exhibit interpretation, Kids’ Kingdom, events and more. Visit for more information.

• Snow Monkey Webcam- Three new male Japanese Macaques were introduced to the troop last spring, and the Blank Park Zoo’s monkey exhibit hasn’t been the same with all the wild activity! So the Blank Park Zoo has installed a FREE monkey webcam that is available everyday between 10am-4pm at

• Aquarium Webcam- Love to watch fish? Want to waste time at work? This new underwater webcam fulfills both desires as web surfers relax while watching the peaceful fish swim in the aquarium. (premieres May 2011)

• Blank Park Zoo Facebook Page- Become a fan of Blank Park Zoo’s Facebook page and learn interesting facts about Blank Park Zoo, participate in special contests and connect with other Blank Park Zoo fans.

• Blank Park Zoo YouTube Page- Subscribe to Blank Park Zoo’s YouTube channel and watch a new video each week about animals, behind-the-scenes sneak peeks, fun and conservation. Blank Park Zoo’s channel has over 120 videos and 500,000 video views. Subscribe today!

The Blank Park Zoo, Iowa’s WILDEST Adventure, is open every day this winter, 10 am – 3pm. Winter Admission rates are $6.95 for adults, $2.95 for children under 12, and $4.95 for seniors and active military. The Zoo is located at 7401 SW 9th St., Des Moines, IA 50315. Visit the Zoo online at . The Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) The AZA is America’s leading accrediting organization that sets rigorous, professional standards for zoos and aquariums. The AZA is building North America's largest wildlife conservation movement by engaging and inspiring the 143 million annual visitors to its member institutions and their communities to care about and take action to help protect wildlife.

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