Hours: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Admission: $11 Adults, $6 ChildThanksgiving Day,
Behind the Scenes: Wallabies and Emus
I’ve got to admit, I am not a big fan of winter. But there’s something peaceful about being at the Zoo during the winter months: fewer crowds, active animals at play, the beauty of a fresh white snowfall covering the exhibits and grounds.
Where do some of the Zoo’s animals go during the winter? I’ve taken you behind the scenes to visit the giraffe and cassowaries, and today I’m taking you to visit the wallabies and emus.
The holding area for the wallabies and emus is at the back of the Australia exhibit. Even though it was a pretty chilly day, the male wallabies had access to their outdoor holding area.
Male wallabies in their outdoor holding area
Animal keeper Bill Johnson says that it has to be about 30 degrees and not a lot of snow on the ground for them to be outside. When the weather is not quite warm enough, they have the choice to be indoors or out. Today, for the safety of the baby joeys, only the males had outdoor access.
Male wallaby in his outdoor holding
The Zoo has 18 wallabies – 10 boys and 8 girls. And some pretty cute joeys!
Female wallaby and joey
Fun fact: the main difference between a wallaby and a kangaroo is their size. Wallabies eat pelleted grains and grass hay, and they enjoy enrichment that involves perfumes and spices.*
I also had to take the opportunity to meet the Zoo’s three emus. This is Buzz. He’s pretty cute.
Buzz the emu in his indoor holding
For the emus to be out, it has to be about 32 degrees. The Zoo’s emus eat Mazuri ratite pellets and greens. For enrichment, the emus experience what is called broadcast feeding – which means they have to hunt for their food.
Because the animals are inside, the keepers stay busy with more clean-up and maintenance of the facilities to ensure the animals are safe and comfortable.
During the warmer months, it is a one-of-a-kind experience to walk through Australia. The emus and wallabies wander around the exhibit and get so close you could practically reach out and touch them (but please don’t – for your safety and theirs). And, you get to see up close other birds like the lorikeet, black swan and kookaburra, and so many more.
During the winter, you can still enjoy many of the Zoo’s birds in the Discovery Center, as well as our winter animals, like the snow monkeys, snow leopards, Chilean flamingoes and more! As a member, you have the privilege to enjoy the animals of the Zoo for free year round!
*Do you have an enrichment item you’d like to donate to Blank Park Zoo? Simply drop it off at our admissions desk and let us know which animal it’s for. For a complete list of enrichment needs, visit our Amazon wish list!