Zoo Blog - Blank Park Zoo

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Zoo Blog

Find out about the animals, events, behind the scenes information and more from the staff of Blank Park Zoo.

Holiday Parties!

Posted on 11/05/2014 at 2:25 PM


With the holidays just around the corner the Zoo is in full swing for holiday parties and winter meetings! The view from the Discovery Center Room allows for guests to bring the rain forest to their event to escape the Iowa winter weather. With the option to customize the room to fit your size group, the room is perfect for any event all year long. 

If you have yet to book your holiday event, be sure to call in for the winter discount ending on November 15. All rentals will receive 10% off the rental fee. This includes tables, chairs, linens, built-in speakers, signs to direct guests, and an on-site coordinator the day of to take care of all the little details. You even have the option to offer your guests reduced admission to the Zoo, too!

In addition to our indoor Discovery Center Room, Blank Park Zoo offers several other venue spaces for various events throughout the year. Invite your guests to a unique cocktail hour setting in the Aquarium, host a picnic in the outdoor Pavilion, or bring your whole company out to explore the Zoo after hours with dinner for up to 500 guests in the ZooPlex. The Africa Pavilion is the perfect setting for a quaint ceremony or unique cocktail hour. Enjoy appetizers from Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse as the giraffe, kudu, and other African animals join in on the fun!

Contact the Zoo at 515-974-2506 or sales@blankparkzoo.org to book your holiday event today!*

*Be sure to mention this blog post by November 15 to receive 10% off your entire rental fee!




Posted on 09/09/2014 at 10:37 AM

Already missing Zoo Brew? Join us Thursday, September 25 for ZOOKTOBERFEST, an Oktoberfest twist on Zoo Brew! 

Doors open at 5:30 PM and the festivities continue until 8:00 PM. Food will be provided by the Zoo’s Safari Grill, operated by Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse. Follow us on the Zoo Brew Facebook page to get more details on the Grill feature and updates on Zooktoberfest!

Be one of the first 750 guests and you will receive a Zooktoberfest koozie! Free samples will be available while they last, so make sure to right at the beginning. Samples include: Woodchuck Pumpkin Cider, Newcastle Werewolf, Sam Adams Oktoberfest and Jack-o-traveler Pumpkin. To go along with the samples, check out the pretzel necklace making station. 

Starting at 5:30 PM, Omaha-based Barry Boyce Band will heighten the celebration – their performances include a variety of ethnic music featuring old-time German, Czech and Polish polkas. The three-man band features Barry Boyce on piano accordion, button accordion and vocals. You can often find them at Hessen Haus!

It would not be Zooktoberfest without the animals of Blank Park Zoo. With the early September sunset, Blank Park Zoo’s outdoor animals will be out until 6:30 PM for the safety of the animals and the keepers. The Discovery Center will be open until 8:00 PM for you to visit the Zoo’s aquarium, birds and reptiles. You will also have the chance to meet several of the Zoo’s small critters and furry friends that are used for education all around the state and at the Zoo.

Zooktoberfest is the first of the Oktoberfest Des Moines celebrations! Be sure to head downtown to continue the party September 26 & 27. From 3:00 PM to 1:00 AM there will be live polka music, authentic food, contests, a tented beer garden and more! For more information about Oktoberfest Des Moines or to purchase tickets visit www.oktoberfestdsm.com

German beer, live music, Zoo animals, fun with friends –Zooktoberfest will be the Oktoberfest event of the fall! Zooktoberfest is for adults 21 and over!

FREE for Zoo members
$7 for Non-Members

Click here to purchase tickets! We will honor unused 2014 Zoo Brew Groupon tickets.

Bridal Sneak Peek

Posted on 07/28/2014 at 2:34 PM

Blank Park Zoo is excited to announce their second Bridal Sneak Peek of the year on August 29, 2014! The event allows engaged couples to meet with the event coordinator, catering manager, and explore the decorated venue spaces around the Zoo.

Already have a wedding venue? No problem! The Zoo’s preferred vendors will be out offering incredible discounts and prizes to the brides and grooms in attendance on August 29. The Zoo will even be giving away $500 in credit towards one lucky couple’s wedding at Blank Park Zoo. 

Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse will be providing appetizers and drinks as couples and their guests make their way through our Pavilion Ceremony space, Indoor Reception Room, ZooPlex Reception space, cocktail hour locations, and bridal suite. It is the perfect event for any couple as they plan their dream wedding!

Special Events, Scratch Cupcakes, and Pure Bridal are just to name a few of the vendors that you will experience while attending the event. Bridal Sneak Peek is free for the bride or groom and two guests. Additional guests will be $5 per person. Questions? Feel free to call 515-974-2506 or email sales@blankparkzoo.org.


For more information and to register for the event, visit www.blankparkzoo.com/bridalsneakpeek.


Creature Feature: Eland

Posted on 07/01/2014 at 2:22 PM

Blank Park Zoo is proud to be the home of many large mammals, including Elands. Tragelaphus derbianus is the Elands scientific name. Even though the Elands are considered the least concerned on the IUCN red list there still are cases of over-hunting. This can lead to elimination of Elands in certain areas, but they are still highly populated in protected areas. Blank Park Zoo is delighted to house these animals at the Zoo to keep their species from extinction. 

The Eland is the largest breed of antelope. It is of similar size to as a cow, weighing up to 1,500 pounds. From their shoulders to the ground they stand around six feet tall. Elands have a tan coat that is usually fawn or tawny-colored. Once older the Eland will start to turn a gray or bluish-gray color. You can tell which Elands are the oldest because their coat will turn almost black. Males grow a tuft of black hair located on the fold of skin that hangs down from their neck. Elands have horns that are slightly twisted and rise from the front of their heads. The female’s horns are usually longer and thinner than the male’s horns. Elands can travel in large herds of one hundred or more animals. This breed lives around 15 to 25 years. 

Where do Elands live? Elands live in the open plains, grassland, mountain, subdesert, acacia savanna, and miombo woodland areas. Most of them are located around Africa. Elands try to stay away from swamps, deserts, and forests. 

Elands are Herbivores and mainly prefer to eat vegetables. Elands will browse around and eat in areas where there are shrubs and bushes around. They will use their horns to break down twigs and branches to eat the leaves from. They will sometimes consume some types of fruits, large bulbs, and tuberous roots. 

Come to the Zoo soon and visit with our Eland friends! 



Campout at the Zoo #1 & Iowa Cubs Night

Posted on 06/24/2014 at 2:49 PM

On June 13, 2014 the Zoo was happy to host 41 campers at the third annual Campout at the Zoo! Everyone had fun meeting new people, crafting, making Ants On A Log treats, and going on private tours of the zoo where they met many animals including giraffe, rhinos, tortoises and more! We’d like to give a big thanks to Zoo Keeper Nikki and Zoo Keeper Stacy for leading the tours! Campers also played an animal-themed game and got to hear the rooster’s crow in the morning! The families were able to get the full camping experience from being able to set up their own tent to waking up to the early morning animal coos. This Campout at the Zoo was surely a memorable one!

Go Cubs go! Another fun event the Blank Park Zoo team got to be a part of this month was the Iowa Cubs Night. We were invited out to Principal Park to have our mascot, Wally B, throw one of the first pitches! He also got to take part in the Kum and Go race against 3 other mascots; a hot dog, a koolee, and a bag of chips. Wally B even ended up winning the race (after a shove or two to his competition). Not only did the fans get to enjoy Wally, but we also brought along an alligator and snake from the Zoo for fans to see up close. All in all, Blank Park Zoo has had a very eventful and enjoyable month of June!


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