April 1: Blank Park Zoo Discovers New Species of Dinosaur

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April 1: Blank Park Zoo Discovers New Species of Dinosaur


Zoo Discovers New Species of Dinosaur… Sort of
Zoo also prepares for onslaught of April Fool’s Phone Calls…


For Immediate Release

DES MOINES, Iowa (March 31, 2011) – In preparation for April Fool’s Day, Iowa’s Blank Park Zoo has released a new YouTube video featuring an unkempt scientist claiming to have found a new species of extinct dinosaur.


According to the video, the bones of the species, Aprilis balatro, were found during construction of a new animal holding facility. Aprilis balatro is loosely translated from Latin meaning April Fool.


The video is currently featured on the Zoo’s YouTube site located at http://www.youtube.com/blankparkzoo. Blank Park Zoo will be opening its visiting Dinosaur exhibit on May 27.


In addition, zoos across the world, including Iowa’s Blank Park Zoo receive an onslaught of April Fool’s Day prank phone calls from unsuspecting callers. These callers are given a message from a co-worker asking them to return a call to Ms. Diane Osaurus, Mr. Lee Muhr, Ms. Cassie Warrie the Cassowary, and Mr. Al Gator.

In response, the Blank Park Zoo has set up four special phone numbers for pranksters hoping to ‘fool’ their friends:

 “We started this a few years ago after many years of receiving prank phone calls on April Fool’s Day. I guess we have a if you can’t beat ‘em, then join ‘em attitude,” said Ryan Bickel, Blank Park Zoo spokesperson.


“Each number has a pre-recorded message that will let them know they have been fooled…but in a nice way,” said Bickel.


This year, the messages will also be available on the Zoo’s website, www.blankparkzoo.com for those unable to reach the recordings. The Zoo is urging pranksters not to call the Zoo’s main phone number.


Zoo officials cautioned that pranksters should not pull the prank on people that would not appreciate the joke or be offended by it.


For the past couple of years, the Blank Park Zoo has received a combined total of around 35,000 phone calls during the day.


The Blank Park Zoo has had a long history of April Fool’s pranks. In 2004, the Zoo was involved with a ‘virtual’ parade along SW 9th Street. The ‘parade’ was broadcast live on radio station KGGO. Another prank included announcing a new species of red bats which turned out to be baseball bats painted red.



The Blank Park Zoo, Iowa’s WILDEST Adventure, is open every day this April, 10 am – 5pm. 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.







My co-worker and I just pranked our boss with this and he called four times trying to leave a message! We finally broke down laughing and told him it was a joke. Thanks for the laughs!!

Animal Lover | 03/29/2012 12:08 PM
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