LA Zoo: Giraffe feeding at ZooLAbration
After being rained out the first time,The Mixed Up Blog's special events contributor, Aurora and her family were excited to check out the Los Angeles Zoo's new interactive Giraffe Feedings which officially debuted in February as part of the Zoo's yearlong 50th anniversary "ZooLAbration."
What's it like to stand face-to-face with a giraffe? Check out Aurora's son, Roarke, doing just that. Mom said Roarke thought it looked like a scene out of the movie Jurassic Park and he loved it.
Roarke learned that "standing 16-20 feet tall, giraffes have always been a favorite as they tower over our guests," says Dan Keeffe, Curator of Education. "But now at the L.A. Zoo, guests of all ages can get up close and personal with one of our Masai giraffes, look into her eyes, and even hear her snort. When she extends her 14-inch long tongue to grab the food right out of your hand, it’s an unforgettable experience that fosters a deeper connection to a species that needs our help."
Roarke was so excited that he was first in line to feed the lovely Janiabu, nicknamed "Bu."Bu was comfortable with Roarke so he got to feed her 6 times. (You get 3 branches at a time).
Aurora noted Bu was the most interactive and they were able to take plenty of pictures with her. Her son, Mark, also came up to the feedings. They learned that "giraffes are skittish by nature so we aren't allowed to pet them just hand her the homegrown Acacia leaves. Because our LA zoo is also a botanical garden they grow the giraffes' favorite food right there on site. At Giraffe Feedings, guests learn about the world's tallest land mammal from Zoo Education Specialists, who share facts about the Masai giraffes' daily lives at the Zoo, where they can eat 70 to 80 pounds of up to 100 different species of plants a day and feed for 16 to 20 hours."
Here is the family:
Hasina born Sept 2006 in San Diego
Mother to Sofie and new baby (calf) born Nov 2016.
Zaniabu born Sept 11 Franklin park (MA)
Mother to Mark
Philip born Jan 2012 (Ohio)
Father to new baby
Sofie born April 2013 here at LAZoo
Mark born Oct 2015 here at LAZoo.
Aurora and her family called this an awesome attraction where you really get to see their personalities. Even the ones that stayed in the back watching. The family recommends it and will definitely come back to do it again especially after learning that"due to threats such as habitat loss and poaching, giraffe populations in Africa are declining precipitously, leading the IUCN to now classify them as "Vulnerable." Not only do the L.A. Zoo and other institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) supply funding for field conservation efforts aimed at protecting threatened animals like the giraffe, AZA institutions are uniquely positioned to provide information and insights on reproductive biology, behavior, nutrition, animal health, and genetics that are invaluable to these efforts."
We are sure glad conservation measures are in place so that families and little guys like Roarke, can continue to enjoy the beauty of the giraffe.
Giraffe Feedings are $5 per person with paid Zoo admission, which is $20 for general admission (ages 13 to 61); $17 for seniors (ages 62+), and $15 for children (ages 2 to 12) for non-members. Guests can purchase tickets (cash only) for the Giraffe Feedings at the exhibit just prior to start times for the activity, which is subject to weather-related changes, especially on rainy days.
Disclosure: Aurora and her family were part of the LA Zoo's media event but all opinions are hers.