Weekend at the Zoo!

I decided to take my niece Ella to the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport this past Saturday – and we had a wonderful time! One of the best things about the Beardsley Zoo is how child friendly it is. The zoo has loads of interactive activities for young and old alike. Best of all, the Beardsley Zoo is just big enough without being overwhelming.Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo exhibits hundreds of animals, primarily from North and South America. Many of the animals are endangered or threatened species, which means there aren’t many of them left in the world.

A big hit with Ella, was the prairie dog exhibit with “pop-up” viewing areas. We also enjoyed a stroll through the New England Farmyard with goats, cows, pigs, sheep and other barnyard critters. Next, we took a walk along the hoofstock trail that featured bison, pronghorn, and deer.

High on our list too see was the Bald Eagle exhibit. A Zoo volunteer was on hand to tell us about two of the eagles, Temp and Kada that came to the Zoo from the Alaska Raptor Center. We learned that Bald Eagles use their talons to catch fish, and therefore tend to live near water sources such as lakes and rivers. We learned that they will scavenge carrion, steal other animals’ kills and catch small mammals. Bald Eagles, who have an average life span of 28 years, are believed to mate for life and build enormous nests for the pair of eggs they will lay each year.

Next we peeked in at the Brazilian ocelot kitten born January 22 and her mother, Kuma. Both cats were napping in a beautiful rainforest environment. We enjoyed looking through the foliage for a glimpse of the two rare ocelot kittens, Red & Maned. Next we were enchanted by the antics of the Golden Lion Tamarins…whose energy seemed boundless…just like Ella’s!

Our last stop was a walk through the “Alligator Alley” exhibit, home to five new alligators. The new deck gave us a terrific view of these reptiles as they went about their daily activities and feedings.

We learned from a volunteer on site that Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo’s alligators are between the ages of four and five and are still small, the largest weighing approximately 55 lbs, while the smallest averages 30 lbs. They range from four to five feet long. Known to grow continuously throughout their lives, these creatures are known to reach lengths of thirteen to twenty feet and weights from 400 to 2,000 pounds! They can bite down with 2,000 pounds of pressure with a mouth that contains 65 teeth. Formerly an endangered species, more than one million adult alligators live in the wild today, representing a conservation success story!

On our way to the Carrousel for a spin we stopped to admire two beautiful Amur (Siberian) tigers and the Andean (spectacled) bears.

About Beardsley Zoo

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is closer than you think and is open daily from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Adult admission (ages 12 & older) is $12.00, children (ages 3 -11) and senior admission (62 and older) is just $10.00, and children under 3 years old are free. Zoo members are also admitted free. Parking at the Zoo is free of charge. For information, call: (203) 394-6565. Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is located at 1875 Noble Avenue, Bridgeport, Connecticut. For more information, visit http://www.BeardsleyZoo.org

The Discovery Museum Celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month October 8th

The Discovery Museum and Planetarium is proud to announce free admission as part of its celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month on October 8th. To celebrate the day, Bi-lingual docents will be on hand to show visitors around the musuem.

The day’s events will showcase Hispanic scientists, engineers, and inventors whose genius expanded the frontiers of science and space and improved the social and health conditions of populations around the globe.

Visitors to the Museum will discover the rich, Hispanic legacy and ongoing discoveries which contribute to our quality of life, whether it is finding the cure for leprosy or being the first female astronaut in space to represent the Latino population (with almost 1,000 miles logged!)

Events highlighted will include a Skype video conference with scientists at Arecibo Observatory, in Puerto Rico, with the distinction of being the largest of its kind in the world! There will also be Hands-On Dynamic Demonstrations (some bi-lingual) throughout the day.

A special favorite will be the four Full-Dome Planetarium Shows (some bi-lingual) that are being offered throughout the day. Make-and-Take children’s activities, and a peak at the new traveling exhibit “Contraptions” will round out the fun.

A special feature will be live broadcasts by Radio Cumbre from the Discovery Museum that will include drawings for free museum memberships and passes.

About The Discovery Museum and Planetarium

Connecticut’s pre-eminent science and planetarium resource for more than 60,000 visitors, school children, and teachers. The mission of the Discovery Museum and Planetarium is to “engage, excite, and educate” in the exploration of science, technology, and innovation.

The Discovery Museum and Planetarium is a hands-on interactive museum for all ages with over sixty-five exhibit areas featuring “see, hear and touch” explorations of science, technology and ideas.

The Discovery Museum and Planetarium is located at 4450 Park Ave., Bridgeport, CT 06604. http://www.discoverymuseum.org.

Rainforest Reptiles is at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo for a limited engagement! Aug. 25- Aug. 28!

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo concludes its summer programming schedule with Rainforest Reptiles, a dynamic, interactive, and educational show that is sure to engage and excite young and old alike. Rainforest Reptiles features over 200 exotic reptiles, ranging from iguanas, Burmese pythons, and boa constrictors to lizards, turtles, and American alligators. Visitors also will appreciate the Zoo’s newly renovated “Alligator Alley” exhibit, which is home to five new alligators.

Alligator Alley’s redesigned exhibit accommodates the five new alligators, all male, which reside there. A new deck has been constructed for the alligators, allowing visitors to better observe these reptiles as they go about their daily activities and feedings. A new roof now provides visitors with shading and protection from the elements, and the new audio system allows zookeepers to better interact with the audience. A higher plexi-glass wall prevents debris from easily falling in.

Alligators have been around longer than the dinosaurs, almost 65 million years, and are relatively unchanged in that time. Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo’s alligators are between the ages of four and five and are still small, the largest weighing approximately 55 lbs, while the smallest averages 30 lbs. They range from four to five feet long.

Known to grow continuously throughout their lives, these creatures are known to reach lengths of thirteen to twenty feet and weights from 400 to 2,000 pounds. They can bite down with 2,000 pounds of pressure with a mouth that contains 65 teeth. Formerly an endangered species, more than one million adult alligators live in the wild today, representing a conservation success story!

The Rainforest Reptile Shows are Thursday, August 25 – Sunday, August 28; the shows take place on Thursday & Friday at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm. On Saturday and Sunday the shows take place at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 3:00 pm. All shows are FREE with paid admission to the Zoo!

Public Gets First Peek at Piglets and Pygmy Marmoset at Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport CT

The New England Farmyard just got a little noisier and the Rainforest Building a bit wilder as Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo celebrates the birth of nine new piglets and welcomes an additional Pygmy Marmoset. The playful piglets join their Guinea Hog parents Hamton J. Pig, the lone male pig, and Olivia. The new Pygmy Marmoset came to Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo last month from Zoo Montana.

“Good things can come in small packages,” commented Zoo director Gregg Dancho. “Our new piglets are all happily eating, sleeping, and playing in their new surroundings; and the new Pygmy Marmoset is adjusting well to her new home.”

The public is invited to visit the newborn piglets in the New England Farmyard. Hamton hails from the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk, Virginia originally, while Olivia came from Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas.

The new female Pygmy Marmoset, named Eko, is 2 years old and has been in the Animal Care Center since her arrival from Montana to give her time to get acclimated to her new surroundings. She joins a male Pygmy Marmoset, Weechie, who is 5 years old and has been at the Zoo for some time. Eko was brought to Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo in order to mate, in keeping with the Zoo’s goals of animal conservation and species survival promotion. They were introduced a little over a week ago at the Zoo’s Animal Care Center before returning to the exhibit. If breeding is successful, gestation is usually four and a half months; with between one to four offspring expected. It is not uncommon for Pygmy Marmosets to give birth to twins.

Pygmy Marmosets are one of the world’s smallest primates. They weigh less than a naval orange and could fit in the palm of a hand. Unfortunately, these sociable monkeys are often victims of illegal pet trade, in part due to their outgoing demeanor and “cute” appearance. Their status is continually threatened due to habitat destruction, with shrinking rainforests worldwide. Half of these species call rainforests home, but have been forced into progressively smaller and less suitable habitats. Places like Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, which focus on protecting such vital wildlife, are committed to studying animals like Pygmy Marmosets more closely and providing them with improved opportunities to breed and reside.

Guinea Hogs are quick learners with a substantial memory, using their sense of taste to identify objects. While the newborn piglets range in weight from one to two pounds, adult Guinea Hogs typically weigh 150-300 pounds and grow to a height of 21-24 inches. They are hearty grazers who forge for shrubs, weeds, bird eggs, snakes, mice, grasshoppers, roots, tubers, and even manure. They are gentle animals found in sounders (herds) and tend to call farms home, however, they may be found in deserts and mountainous areas, as well.

About Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is closer than you think and features 300 animals representing primarily North and South American species. Visitors won’t want to miss our new Bald Eagle exhibit, Andean condors, Amur (Siberian) tigers, ocelots, red & maned wolves, Andean (spectacled) bear, llamas, vampire bats, and golden lion tamarins. Other highlights include our South American rainforest with free-flight aviary, the prairie dog exhibit with “pop-up” viewing areas, the New England Farmyard with goats, cows, pigs, sheep, and other barnyard critters, plus the hoofstock trail featuring bison, pronghorn, deer, and more. Visitors can grab a bite at the Peacock Café, eat in the Picnic Grove and enjoy a ride on our colorful carousel. For more information, visit http://www.beardsleyzoo.org

Columbus Replica Ships Pinta And Nina To Land In Bridgeport CT Over Fourth Of July Weekend

On Friday July 1st, the ‘Pinta and the ‘Nina’, replicas of Columbus’ ships will open in Bridgeport. The ships will be docked at Captains Cove, 1 Bostwick Ave., until their departure early Tuesday morning July 5th.

The ‘Nina’ was built completely by hand and without the use of power tools. Archaeology magazine called the ship “the most historically correct Columbus replica ever built.” The “Pinta” was recently built in Brazil to accompany the Nina on all of her travels. She is a larger version of the archetypal caravel. Historians consider the caravel the Space Shuttle of the fifteenth century.

Both ships tour together as a new and enhanced ‘sailing museum’ for the purpose of educating the public and school children on the ‘caravel’, a Portuguese ship used by Columbus and many early explorers used to discover the world.

While in port, the general public is invited to visit the ships for a walk-aboard, self-guided tour. Admission charges are $8.00 for adults, $7.00 for seniors, and $6.00 for students 5 – 16. Children 4 and under are Free. The ships are open every day from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. No reservations necessary.

Teachers or organizations wishing to schedule a 30 minute guided tour with a crewmember should call 1 787 672 2152. Minimum of 15. $4.00 per person. No Maximum.