A century of caring for elephants is a major milestone, indeed, and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo will mark the occasion in a big way. Everyone's invited to join the celebration during "Elephantennial," a day of special activities for the elephants -- and their fans -- from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, July 27 at the Zoo.
The event will include enrichment activities for the elephants, Q & A sessions with their keepers, elephant check-ups and training demonstrations, public feeding times, children's crafts, pachyderm painting and a special anniversary surprise for the Zoo's elephants.
At 1 p.m., Jo, Moshi and Martika each will get a big "birthday cake" made of ice, filled with fruits and vegetables and frosted with one of their favorite treats - ketchup. The frozen dessert will serve as an enrichment activity for the elephants, stimulating their minds as they try to find the quickest ways to get through the ice and reach their treats, including 100 sliced apples.
At 4 p.m., the Pachyderm Picassos will get the chance to paint their latest masterpieces, with one of the works being donated to the new Cleveland Visitors Center on Public Square and another being given away to a lucky visitor at Elephantennial. And, the first 2,000 kids under age 12 through the gates will get an elephant trading card - one in a set of 10 marking the Zoo's 125th anniversary.
Zoo Director Steve Taylor will be on hand during Elephantennial, offering informational sessions about African Elephant Crossing, the Zoo's forthcoming elephant habitat and conservation center that will quadruple the amount of indoor and outdoor space dedicated to elephants. Set to open in 2010, the exhibit will house up to 10 elephants in stimulating surroundings similar to their native savanna.
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, with hours extended to 7 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Admission is $10 per person ages 12 and older, $5 for kids ages 2 to 11 and free for children under 2 and Zoo members. Parking is free. Located at 3900 Wildlife Way, the Zoo is easily accessible from Interstates 71, 77, 90 and 480. To learn more, visit clemetzoo.com or call (216) 661-6500.