Text by Claire Peeler | Photos courtesy of Anna Haley
Twice named the country’s best, the Memphis Zoo is always a fascinating place to visit, but this summer it’s a particularly exciting destination. Thanks to six offspring born this past year, the Memphis Zoo is experiencing a baby boom!
One of the more popular (and adorable) of the newborns at the Memphis Zoo is Baby Winnie, a Nile hippopotamus. This big bundle of joy received her name after almost 23,000 people voted during a contest held by the zoo to pick her moniker. Winnie and her mom Binti are on exhibit every day, but they rotate their display time with two other adult hippos. The Memphis Zoo is also proud to announce the birth of Baby Donovan, the third yellow-backed duiker to be born at the park. Donovan and Winnie make their homes in the zoo’s newest exhibit, the Zambezi River Hippo Camp.
Another favorite among the zoo’s many baby animals is Rowan, an orangutan born in March of
2016. Baby and mom are currently rotating on and off their exhibit, but the morning is the best chance for visitors to see them.
Only recently joining the rest of his herd on exhibit is baby boy Bogey, the newborn giraffe. As the nation waited ever so patiently via viral Facebook posts for April the giraffe’s blessed event in New York, Memphis had one of our own! Bogey was born, quite suddenly, as mother Akili was on exhibit. For a chance to meet Akili and the rest of the full-grown giraffes, visitors can feed the herd from 11 a.m. to noon Wednesday through Sunday for a small additional fee.
Baby Lua, a Linné’s two-toed sloth arrived on March 17. Since she is the first successful two-toed sloth birth for the zoo, Lua is currently being hand-raised behind the scenes. She’s not yet on exhibit, but the public can learn more about her by visiting memphiszoo.org/sloth.
The most recent additions to the Memphis Zoo are two baby warthogs, Abraham and Sarah, announced to the public June 5. Mother Daphne gave birth at the end of April. The two rambunctious piglets and their mother can be seen at the Round Barn.
The zoo recently welcomed another new addition through the arrival of a white-bellied tree pangolin, an endangered species. Though this night creature is not a newborn, it is an important part of the zoo’s conservation efforts. The park is partnering with five other U.S. zoos and the Pangolin Conservation, a Florida-based nonprofit organization, to initiate a conservation plan and assure the future of pangolins around the world.
While visiting with the adorable baby animals this summer, be sure to also enjoy the zoo’s seasonal attractions. In addition to the giraffe feeding deck visitors can ride camels, feed stingrays and sharks at Stingray Bay, and feed colorful birds in the Budgie Room (open Memorial Day through Labor Day).
After exploring the exhibits, stop by the Cat House Café, the Memphis Zoo’s unique restaurant. The café features three stations that offer a variety of food choices. Each menu includes kids’ meals, as well as healthy options like fresh fruits and vegetables, and vegetarian entrees.
For delicious grab-and-go items stop by The Outpost. Menu favorites include hot dogs, nachos, Icees and ice cream, all of which can be easily carried from one exhibit to the next. The Outpost is open year round and located by the rhino and zebra exhibits in the African Veldt. Other seasonal food options include carts and kiosks throughout the park.
It’s easy to make a weekend out of a visit to the Memphis Zoo by taking advantage of the park’s many local hotel packages. The zoo has partnered with The Peabody Hotel, Fairfield Inn & Suites and Quality Suites Thousand Oaks to offer a family fun day and night in Memphis. For more information about the local hotel packages, visit www.memphiszoo.org/localhotelspackages.
Perhaps the best deal in the city is a Family Membership to the Memphis Zoo. The $99 annual membership includes free admission for two adults from the same household and all their children under the age of 21 for a full year. Individual memberships, grandparent memberships and guest add-on packages are also available. Along with free zoo admission, other membership benefits include free parking, gift shop discounts and reduced admission to select special events such as Zoo Boo and Zoo Lights.
The Memphis Zoo is open daily from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. with ticket prices ranging from $10-$15. The park offers free admissions to Tennessee residents on Tuesdays from 2 p.m. until closing.