One Degree of Change Can Make a Huge Difference

ZOOLIGHTS this year features a brand new interactive light display that showcases the polar bear to talk about climate change.

While strolling through ZOOLIGHTS this year, you’ll find a new feature lighting up Zone 3. We have a new interactive light display that shines a spotlight on polar bears, and how they’re affected by climate change. While we don’t have polar bears at the zoo, what can you do to help them thrive?

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All wrapped up in planning ZOOLIGHTS

The Calgary Zoo team is getting ready for ZOOLIGHTS 2015!

If you’re a Calgarian, then you know that there is one major seasonal event that the zoo hosts every winter. That’s right, it’s almost time for ZOOLIGHTS!

Calgary’s favourite holiday tradition is back (running from November 27, 2015- January 2, 2016), and with it comes 1.5 million LED lights, activities, and memories to be made.

With all of those twinkling lights, what is it like getting ready for this big event? We caught up with Aaron Cunningham and Kelsey Van Raay, two employees with the ZOOLIGHTS know-how.

Buy tickets to visit the Calgary Zoo.

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Grazers: Fresh, Local, Savoury

If you’ve been to the zoo during the last year, you might have stopped into Grazers for a bite to eat. A new seasonal restaurant at the zoo, Grazers is a family friendly dining experience that emphasizes locally sourced ingredients.

By sourcing locally we are able to reduce our environmental footprint, a commitment that is important to the zoo as an organization, and to the staff. Sous Chef James Neilson said it best in an interview last year; “It’s important to me to continue to challenge myself and always try to raise the bar. I would also like to educate people on the importance of eating locally and sustainably, and the affect that it has on conservation.”

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Birds wearing beer cozie slippers

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Beer cozie slippers; they’re not just a fashion statement, but a creative way to care for animals here at the zoo.

What do you do when a bird injures its foot? Veterinarian Dr. Doug Whiteside prefers a certain method that not only helps heal the bird as quickly as possible, but also doubles as a fun bird accessory. In order to help the healing process along, the vets need a “bandage” that is able to get wet, dry quickly, but will still protect the foot. The beer cozie is perfect based on its shape for the webbed feet of a flamingo- the vets can medicate the bottom of the bird’s foot, and also protects the foot from the ground as it heals.

Dr. Whiteside has used this technique in flamingos for years and adapted it for the gentoo penguin from its use in flamingos. It was used successfully in 2013- with gentoo penguin Akemi. He claims the biggest challenge is making sure to use duct tape- so that they can’t take the cozie off! A unique workplace such as a zoo requires unique problem solving, for animals big and small.

Meet one of our KidzKonnect volunteers!

There are so many wonderful volunteer opportunities for youth- and the Calgary Zoo and TELUS Spark have teamed up to make sure that there is one more! For the last six summers the Calgary Zoo has offered the KidzKonnect volunteer program to engages youth from the ages of 14-17 with summer volunteering opportunities. This year, we have partnered with the TELUS Community Foundation and TELUS Spark to deliver a more rounded experience for our young Calgarians. #givewherewelive

Meet Brittany Ashton, 16, one of our youth KidzKonnect volunteers!

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20 things to do at the Calgary Zoo! #20zootodo

For the past few weeks we’ve been using the hashtag #20zootodo to count down the days until the Calgary Zoo fully reopened. Once a day, for 20 days, we’ve shared suggestions for what you can do when you get back on the island.

With the zoo officially opened, as of November 28, 2013, we’re turning the list over to you!

Print it out (you can download it here) and use it as a guide to take pictures during your next visit to the zoo. Share your pics on Instagram and Twitter using the #20zootodo hashtag. Then follow the hashtag to get in on the fun!

Here’s the full list:

#20 – Marvel at our ever growing meerkat mob! The babies are so cute & growing fast!

#19 – Sip a cup of hot cocoa while admiring the ZOOLIGHTS! Starting on November 29.

#18 – Spot a snow leopard. They are often more active during the cooler weather months.

#17 – Dress in red and visit the red pandas!

#16 – Take a slide down the snake slide in the rejuvenated playground area! It’s been completely resurfaced since the flood.

#15 – Take your picture with friends at the Ganesh (dancing elephant) statue.

#14 – Snuggle a penguin plushie at the gift shop.

#13 – Make happy faces at the hippos while you watch them swim in their habitat.

#12 – Roar with our male lions, Aslan and Baruti!

#11 – Hang out with the Bactrian Camels and admire their warm shaggy coat.

#10 – Tango with the tigers. Ok, maybe not, but definitely pay them a visit.

#9 – Take a spin on the wooden carousel. Maybe ride on the swift fox or the lion!

#8 – Leap with the lemurs…the mongoose lemurs that is!

#7 – Escape the cold and enjoy the beautiful plants at the ENMAX conservatory.

#6 – Graze with the giraffes or, if they don’t want to share, maybe just grin at them instead.

#5 – Hiss-s-s-s-s with the gigantic Madagascar tree boa.

#4 – Grin at the gorillas!

#3 – Flap with the straw-coloured fruit bats!

#2 – Stomp with the elephants!

#1 – Tell Santa what you want for Christmas through SantaVision at ZOOLIGHTS!

For more fun ideas for things to do at the Calgary Zoo, check out our events and activities!

Download and print: Calgary Zoo #20zootodo activity list