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Blank Park Zoo sets up April Fool's Hotline
Zoos around the world receive many prank phone calls on April Fool's Day. In response, Blank Park Zoo set up voicemail messages to help handle the volume of calls.
Blank Park Zoo takes a 'if you can't beat them, then join them stance' on long-time phone prank.
For Immediate Release
DES MOINES, Iowa (March 29, 2013) – Iowa's Blank Park Zoo announced today special phone numbers and is preparing to take thousands of phone calls on Monday.
"Several years ago, we were getting several hundred prank phone calls on April 1, and our people that answered the phone were frustrated, so I thought it would be fun to set up voicemail messages that the pranksters could call instead," said Ryan Bickel, zoo spokesperson. "What happened next was almost unbelievable."
The promotion went viral and the zoo received an estimated 25,000 - 30,000 phone calls on April 1, 2009, and thousands more in the years that followed.
"We received phone calls from across the United States," said Bickel. "Radio DJs were talking about this in New York and California."
The prank goes like this; a prankster leaves a written message on an unsuspecting co-worker's desk to call a Mr. Lyon or a Don Key and leaves the local zoo's number. The unsuspecting person seriously calls the zoo and finds out it is a prank.
This year's numbers feature a 'best of messages' from previous year’s plus a new number in honor of Blank Park Zoo's new Rhino exhibit opening May 4. Bickel cautioned would be pranksters to not play the prank on someone that wouldn't see the humor in it or might get upset by being pranked.
These are the zoo's special numbers (please do not use the zoo’s main phone number):
Ryne O., 515-974-2670
Anna Conda, 515-974-2671
Don Key, 515-974-2672
Wally B. Hoppin, 515-974-2673
About Blank Park Zoo
Blank Park Zoo, Iowa’s WILDEST Adventure, is open 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. seven days a week this winter. Winter Admission rates are $7 for adults, $3 for children under 12, and $6 for seniors and active military. Children two years and under and Blank Park Zoo members are free. 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.