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Potter's Blog

Guineafowl: The Underdogs of Pride of Africa 

Learn about eastern crested guineafowl in Africa and at the zoo
Posted by Erica Rymer Sunday, October 13, 2019 12:00:00 PM Categories: Animal News


If you have stopped by your Akron Zoo lately, you have probably seen the Landon and Cynthia Knight Pride of Africa, filled with recognizable animals from the African savanna such as storks, gazelles, and African lions. However, there is one animal in Pride of Africa that may be new to many of us: the eastern crested guineafowl.

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Say "CHEESE!" 

October 4 is World Smile Day AND World Animal Day
Friday, October 4, 2019 3:00:00 PM Categories: Animal News

World Smile Day

It isn’t news that the world is full of wacky and unusual holidays. This year on October 4, people around the world are celebrating both World Smile Day and World Animal Day! World Smile Day encourages individuals to do an act of kindness to make someone else smile, and World Animal Day encourages us to improve the future for animals! We thought we would celebrate both holidays at once by sharing smiling photos of a few of our charismatic Akron Zoo residents. We hope they put a smile on your face too!

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Seeing Double 

Learn how the Akron Zoo is caring for two prides of lions
Saturday, September 14, 2019 9:00:00 AM Categories: Zoo Tales

Seeing Double

Did you know your Akron Zoo is now home to two lion prides? Many of you have met our beautiful African lions Tamarr and Mandisa, but we have some new faces coming to the Landon and Cynthia Knight Pride of Africa lion habitat! We have a brand new pride centered around Donovan, a four-year-old male who came here from the Columbus Zoo. Alongside him are two females, Msinga and Kataba, who are five-year-old sisters from the Philadelphia Zoo.

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Let’s Talk Iguanas 

Celebrate Iguana Awareness Day by learning something new!
Sunday, September 8, 2019 10:00:00 AM Categories: Animal News


Each year on September 8 we celebrate Iguana Awareness Day. These magnificent reptiles are native to Central and South America but are also common in the Florida Keys, thanks to U.S. cargo vessels carrying them across the gulf. There are 35 species of iguana, many of whom have unique characteristics that make them stand out from most other reptiles. Learn some unique iguana facts and meet the Akron Zoo's iguana, Taino!

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Learn about the Akron Zoo's oldest jaguar and how our care team is supporting her
Posted by Elena Bell Thursday, September 5, 2019 11:25:00 AM Categories: Animal News

Jaguar Naom

Naom, one of our female jaguars, is a smart and sassy 18 ½ year old cat. The average median life expectancy for a jaguar is 18 years, so you may say Naom is a “wise elder” of her species. Sadly for many animals, including humans, age often brings with it health complications and Naom is no exception. Our animal care team recently diagnosed Naom with malignant breast cancer. We are doing everything medically possible for her. 

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Amazon In Danger! 

Learn about the problems facing the Amazon Rainforest and what you can do to help
Thursday, August 29, 2019 4:30:00 PM Categories: Conservation Corner


The Amazon Rainforest is the most diverse ecosystem on Earth. Its 1.4 billion acres of forest produces 20% of the planet’s oxygen and is home to 10% of all known plant and animal species. Sadly, the forest’s genetic diversity and natural beauty are in jeopardy because of a great number of unsustainable practices.

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We're Quite Fawn-d of Siberian Musk Deer 

Learn more about the elusive musk deer in their natural habitat
Posted by Erica Rymer Sunday, August 25, 2019 12:00:00 PM Categories: Animal News Conservation Corner

Musk Deer Blog

The taiga biome is the largest terrestrial biome in the world. This environment is often swampy and cold since it is located in high latitudes like the Himalayan mountains. Most of us would imagine this chilly habitat to be filled with large mammals with thick fur, such as reindeer, lynxes, wolves, moose and bears. While this assumption is not incorrect, there are also a few surprisingly small residents of the taiga. One example is the Siberian musk deer.

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A Day in the Life of an Animal Interpreter 

Learn about being an interpreter from Olivia DeMeio
Posted by Erica Rymer Tuesday, August 20, 2019 12:09:00 PM Categories: A Day in the Life

Boo at the Zoo

Every animal has a story to tell, and as an Education Interpreter at the Akron Zoo, my job is to tell that story. My name is Olivia, and I started at the zoo in 2007 as a volunteer in the Junior Interpreter program at the age of 15. At 18, I was hired as a seasonal interpreter. I have been at the zoo every summer since, making this my twelfth summer at the zoo. Every day as an interpreter is a little different, and I would love to tell you about it!

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Wingin' It Episode 6 

Posted by Elena Bell Monday, August 19, 2019 8:58:00 AM Categories: Wingin' It with Frances F. Feathers

Wingin' It

Wingin' It with Frances F. Feathers has returned! Frances has been on summer vacation, but she made her grand return to the Akron Zoo - only to discovered that we opened a new area while she was gone. She also discovered that Pride of Africa's big focus is on the lions, and not the birds.

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Clue: Breaking News 

Lion Tamarr suspected in recent zoo theft
Wednesday, August 14, 2019 10:00:00 AM Categories: Animal News


Tamarr claims he is innocent, but all evidence is pointing his way. Did he steal all of the Akron Zoo's kitty litter containers? Get the scoop here with breaking news from Akron Zoo representative, Potter the Otter! Plus, read an exclusive interview of Frances F. Feathers!

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Meet the Pride! 

Learn more about our lions and their personalities.
Posted by Erica Rymer Saturday, August 10, 2019 9:00:00 AM Categories: Animal News

Lion Day

If you have visited your Akron Zoo recently, you have probably seen the new Landon and Cynthia Knight Pride of Africa area. But have you had the chance to get to know our new residents? Today is World Lion Day, so to celebrate, we are giving you an insider look into our five lion residents, their personalities, and their role in one of our two prides!

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The Name Game: Let's do Baya! 

Shanti helps her cub pick a name
Posted by Erica Rymer Monday, August 5, 2019 1:22:00 PM Categories: Animal News

Baya Name

You can agree with me or you can be wrong, but snow leopard cubs are some of the most adorable creatures on the planet! For the last three months, your Akron Zoo has been loving and caring for one of these sweet little balls of fluff (and claws) as we anticipated her official debut to our guests. She was given milk, meat, ice cubes, enrichment, medical care and even plenty of attention from her mom, but there was one thing she was missing: a name.

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Saving Wildlife 

Celebrate World Ranger Day 2019
Wednesday, July 31, 2019 9:19:00 AM Categories: Conservation Corner

Boo at the Zoo

Today is the thirteenth annual celebration of World Ranger Day! July 31 is the anniversary of the International Ranger Federation (IRF), established in 1992, so it is only fitting to celebrate rangers on this date. The IRF raises ranger awareness and partners with organizations to ensure that the world’s wildlife parks are free from destruction, poaching and theft. The job does not come without costs and it is estimated that roughly 1,000 rangers have lost their lives in the line of duty in the past 10 years. Today is a day to thank rangers throughout the world and remember those who lost their lives in the line of duty. 

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Keeper Lauren Starkey Awarded for Excellence in Journalism 

Read her award winning article on Cans for Corridors
Friday, July 26, 2019 3:00:00 PM Categories: Animal News

Boo at the Zoo

The Akron Zoo is constantly being reminded of how talented the members of our staff are. Not only are they recognized by our guests, but many have also received local and national recognition for their research, work and even writing. Lauren Starkey, one or our senior keepers,  recently received an American Association of Zoo Keepers’ (AAZK) Excellence in Journalism Award for her article about Cans for Corridors, which was published in the Animal Keepers’ Forum (AKF) in September of 2018. 

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Celebrating World Snake Day 

Sssspectacular factsss about snakes around the world
Tuesday, July 16, 2019 9:16:00 AM Categories: Conservation Corner

Boo at the Zoo

You either love them or hate them, but the fact of the matter is that we should be grateful that snakes are a part of our lives. There are about 3,000 species of snakes around the world and they are quite often misjudged. Here in Ohio, there are 25 species native to the state, and only three are venomous. Join us to learn more about snakes around the world!

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Sink Your Teeth Into Shark Awareness Day 

Common shark myths debunked
Sunday, July 14, 2019 10:00:00 AM

Boo at the Zoo

While sharks may have a bad reputation for being mean, they are actually wonderful creatures in need of our protection to survive. Today is Shark Awareness Day and we’d like to dive into what makes these animals so incredible and how we plan to protect them!

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Don't Worry, Be Capy! 

Learn about our Capybara Species Survival Plan
Tuesday, July 9, 2019 11:00:00 AM Categories: Conservation Corner

Boo at the Zoo

 It may be unclear to you why occasionally zoos send their beloved animals to other accredited facilities, or stranger yet, why they suddenly house new animal residents of a species they already have. Many of these changes are made based on Species Survival Plan recommendations from the Association of Zoo and Aquariums (AZA) Taxon Advisory Groups (TAG). There are almost 250 AZA accredited zoos and aquariums who monitor nearly 500 Species Survival Plans (SSPs) for species currently in human care. Learn about one SSP your Akron Zoo is involved in: the Capybara SSP!

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Meet and Bleat 

An inside look at animal introductions
Wednesday, July 3, 2019 12:00:00 PM Categories: Animal News


Have you ever been introduced to someone new? If you are not introduced well, it can be awkward, uncomfortable and even frightening to meet new people. However, if you are given a thorough introduction, it is much easier to find common ground and begin building a relationship. The same is true for the animals here at our zoo. Taking two animals who have never met and moving them to a shared space can be frightening, and sometimes dangerous depending on the species. This is why many of our animals meet each other slowly through a process called animal introductions.

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Be Our Guest 

See what's new at the zoo!
Friday, June 28, 2019 11:00:00 AM Categories: Zoo Tales

Be Our Guest

Imagining your next vacation may bring to mind thoughts of relaxation and family fun, but the reality does not always measure up to this ideal. Long lines, crowded restaurants, and amenities that are too few and far between can turn the perfect trip into a perfect nightmare. At the Akron Zoo, we recognize that your time with us should be spent connecting with nature and wildlife, not worrying about the little things. This is why our dedicated guest services team has been working to make significant changes to improve our guests’ experience. 

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Speke’s Gazelle 

A Little Gazelle with a Honking Big Nose
Friday, June 21, 2019 1:00:00 PM

Speke's Gazelle

It’s going to be an exciting summer here at your Akron Zoo! The Landon and Cynthia Knight Pride of Africa, our newest area, will open on June 29. Pride of Africa will include a new habitat for our African lions, white storks and goats and will feature an expanded train ride and a misting, water play area. The area will also introduce guests to a brand-new species, Speke’s gazelles.

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It's (Foster) Father's Day 

Featuring Proud Pop, Pez!
Sunday, June 16, 2019 9:00:00 AM Categories: Animal News

Fathers Day

Whether your father is a workaholic or laid back; tall or short; funny or grumpy; biological, step- or adoptive, today is a day to celebrate him! Dads are some of the most amazing people (and animals) in the world. To celebrate Father's Day, we would like to share the story of one of our proud pops at the Akron Zoo!

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Wingin' It Episode 5 

June 13, 2019
Thursday, June 13, 2019 9:43:00 AM Categories: Wingin' It with Frances F. Feathers

Frances F. Feathers meets our Director of Education, Autumn, to learn more about our education programs. Plus she gets to see our animal show and see some birds!

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Show Your Stripes: Make Mail Conservation Conscious 

June 12, 2019
Wednesday, June 12, 2019 1:33:00 PM Categories: Conservation Corner

Tiger Stamp

In 2011, a stamp was unveiled by the United States Postal Service (USPS) making tigers the new face of snail mail. Since then, 49 million have been sold, contributing $5.4 million to international conservation efforts in 35 countries! Unfortunately, by the end of 2018 the USPS elected to discontinue selling the stamps. Learn what we are doing about it and how you can help!

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Make a Splash: How you can celebrate World Oceans Day 

June 8, 2019
Saturday, June 8, 2019 9:00:00 AM Categories: Conservation Corner

World Oceans Day 2019

On June 8 each year, we celebrate World Oceans Day! This observance reminds us that one great body of water connects everyone around the world. This season, as you enjoy the beach, bear in mind that the ocean is also an ecosystem, and you play a key role in it’s protection!

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The Zoo’s Summer “Diet” 

Eat Like An Animal!
Wednesday, June 5, 2019 12:00:00 PM Categories: Animal News

It’s summer, and for some of us that means closely monitoring what we eat to support our “beach bodies.” However, diets should be more focused on balance, rather than elimination. Check out some diet lessons from our animal residents!

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Hello from the Otter Slide 

May 29, 2019
Wednesday, May 29, 2019 1:17:00 PM Categories: Animal News Conservation Corner

It’s World Otter Day! Designated by the International Otter Survival Fund (IOSF), this holiday is meant to raise awareness for the protection and conservation of otters, both in their native habitat and in human care.

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A BEARy Important Story 

May 25, 2019
Saturday, May 25, 2019 1:29:00 PM Categories: Animal News Conservation Corner

Sometimes we BEARly notice what is happening in our hometown habitats, but this week it’s time to be a bear - I mean - aWARE of bears! Bear Awareness Week, which is celebrated the third week of May each year, is a time to think about the important roles bears play in local and global ecosystems, and how we play a role in their protection!

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A Blast from the Past: Evolving Through 20 years at the Akron Zoo  

May 22, 2019
Wednesday, May 22, 2019 1:23:00 PM Categories: Zoo Tales

Boo at the Zoo

The Akron Zoo is full of history as well as people, animals, and change. Although the zoo has undergone many changes since 1953, we decided to reflect on the past 20 years and how they have significantly affected the zoo we know and love today. Through all these changes, there has been one constant: we provide up-close, nose-to-nose experiences with wildlife. The opportunity for these intimate encounters inspires us all. Let’s take a look back through time to see what’s changed. 

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Endangered Species Need You! 

May 17, 2019
Friday, May 17, 2019 11:02:00 AM Categories: Conservation Corner Zoo Tales

Today is endangered species day, and it is important to keep in mind the important role healthy animal populations play in our environment, and the role we play in protecting and restoring them. There are more than 16,000 endangered species in the world today, and more than 1,000 of them call North America home. Loss of habitat, loss of genetic variation and poaching and trafficking are just a few of the many factors that are endangering species and bringing us closer to the sixth mass extinction event.

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The Life of Brian at Your Akron Zoo 

May 15, 2019
Wednesday, May 15, 2019 9:38:00 AM Categories: A Day in the Life

Your Akron Zoo is visited by an average of 400,000 guests every year. During their visit, a majority of our guests see a facility focused on caring for wildlife and teaching people about the importance of conservation. However, many guests miss just how much work goes into making these experiences not only possible, but pleasurable and worry free! Our guest services department is proud to take up that mantle! 

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Wingin' It Episode 4 

May 2, 2019
Thursday, May 2, 2019 2:55:00 PM Categories: Wingin' It with Frances F. Feathers

On the next episode of Wingin' It with Frances F. Feathers, Frances is introduced to a newer resident at the Akron Zoo: Big Hanna. Big Hanna likes to eat trash and helps out the birds.

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A Conservation Conversation 

April 30, 2019
Tuesday, April 30, 2019 4:29:00 PM Categories: Conservation Corner

Your Akron Zoo is excited to collaborate with Wildlife SOS for our annual event Hope for the Wild. Established in 1995, Wildlife SOS was founded by a small group of individuals that all shared the same goal: to protect and preserve India’s wildlife and forests.

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Dr. Brittany Rizzo - Zoo Vet Extraordinaire 

April 27, 2019
Saturday, April 27, 2019 2:32:00 PM Categories: Zoo Tales

Whether you love to visit the zoo, have an animal companion at home or simply value the welfare of animals in human care, we can all agree that veterinarians are essential to the survival and well-being of our furry, scaly, and feathered friends. That is why today we are excited to celebrate World Veterinary Day by recognizing Brittany Rizzo, DVM, the director of animal health at your Akron Zoo!

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Waddle Your Way to World Penguin Day!  

April 25, 2019
Thursday, April 25, 2019 2:56:00 PM Categories: Animal News

In 1998, the Akron Zoo started our Humboldt penguin colony with just five penguins. Since then we have celebrated 16 births, mourned several deaths, and anticipated the arrival of new penguins. Despite these changes, the one thing that has remained consistent is our love for each one of these unique birds! 

Our current penguin colony consists of 13 members, each with a unique personality. To celebrate this World Penguin Day, we want you to have the same insider look into the lives of our flightless friends as our staff get!

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Kristen Scaglione Appointed to AAZK Board of Directors 

April 24, 2019
Wednesday, April 24, 2019 1:22:00 PM Categories: Zoo Tales

Boo at the Zoo

Akron Zoo Wild Animal Keeper Kristen Scaglione has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK)!

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A Tiny Addition to your Akron Zoo 

April 13, 2019
Saturday, April 13, 2019 1:03:00 PM Categories: Animal News

We’re expecting a tiny bundle of fur! Our pygmy slow loris, Sovanni, is pregnant and expecting a baby in May. This is her second pregnancy, but her first here. We are excited to welcome the new baby to your Akron Zoo.

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Happy National Siblings Day 

April 10, 2019
Wednesday, April 10, 2019 3:06:00 PM Categories: Animal News


Happy National Siblings Day! I bet you didn’t know that there are several sets of siblings right here at your Akron Zoo.

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You Might be Zoo Lover If... 

April 8, 2019
Monday, April 8, 2019 8:00:00 AM Categories: Zoo Tales

It is National Zoo Lovers Day and we are certainly feeling the love! Not sure how much you love the zoo? Have no fear! We have come up with a few guidelines to determine whether or not you are in fact a zoo lover!

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Thank You to our Volunteers! 

April 7, 2019
Posted by Elena Bell Sunday, April 7, 2019 8:00:00 AM Categories: Zoo Tales

In honor of National Volunteer Month, the Akron Zoo would like to send a huge THANK YOU to our dedicated, who donate over 13,300 hours each year. That is a value of $285,000! More than 62 million people in the U.S. volunteer every year, and the Akron Zoo is lucky to have 143 adult volunteers and 20 teens in training. The zoo would not be able to run smoothly without these individuals. They play an important role in helping the Akron Zoo continue to achieve its mission. 

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FrogWatch is Ribbiting! 

April 1, 2019
Monday, April 1, 2019 8:00:00 AM Categories: Conservation Corner

“Hoppy” National Frog Month! Frogs and toads are an essential part of many wetland ecosystems, serving as both predator and prey for a variety of species. These unique creatures can be found on every continent except Antarctica. Unfortunately, many frog and toad populations have experienced dramatic population declines in the United States and around the world in the last several years. 

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Wingin' It Episode 3 

March 30, 2019
Saturday, March 30, 2019 11:20:00 AM Categories: Wingin' It with Frances F. Feathers

On this episode of Wingin' It with Frances F. Feathers, Frances tries her hand at goat yoga! 

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Akron Zoo Top Animal 2019 

March 26, 2019
Tuesday, March 26, 2019 3:44:00 PM Categories: Animal News


The polls are in! We asked you to vote on your favorite Akron Zoo animals in our “March Madness” bracket, and you had a lot to say! Unfortunately, though we had many wonderful contestants, there could be only one winner, and you chose Shanti!

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Folktales and Fables Finalists 

March 22, 2019
Friday, March 22, 2019 10:51:00 AM Categories: Zoo Tales

Thank you so much to everyone who participated in our fable contest! We had many wonderful entries, but unfortunately we had to narrow it down to just a few winners. Note that the number of winners is relative to the number of entries in each category. 

So sit, back, relax, and celebrate World Folktales and Fables Week with us by enjoying these creative and thoughtful tales!

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Legends, Folktales and Fables from the Wild 

March 21, 2019
Thursday, March 21, 2019 12:23:00 PM Categories: Zoo Tales

Do you recall the stories and legends you heard in your childhood? Some were probably scary. Some were funny. Some may have been true (at least to some degree). But the best legends were the ones that let your imagination fly! This year, World Folk Tales and Fables Week is from March 17 to March 23. At your Akron Zoo, we bring these tales to life in our Legends of the Wild habitat. When you visit, you will notice that our animals are not all from the same geographic area. What ties them together are the legends associated with them, which are used to help ancient cultures understand the animals that we know and love today. 

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National Wildlife Week: Conservation starts at home 

March 15, 2019
Friday, March 15, 2019 3:42:00 PM Categories: Conservation Corner

National Wildlife Week has a rich history of conservation and education dating back to 1938, making it the longest-running National Wildlife Federation (NWF) education program in history. This year the event is being celebrated from March 12-16.  All across the country, people are encouraged to spend this week learning more about incredible animals native to North America, their habitats, and how we can help them thrive. 

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Create your own folktale 

Saturday, March 9, 2019 3:24:00 PM Categories: Zoo Tales

March 20-26 is National Folktales and Fables Week! We want to celebrate the week with a story competition! Write your own short story, or folktale, and share with us. Every story must include at least one animal to be considered. Your story can be about the Akron Zoo, but it is not required. 

Deadline for story submission is March 18 at 5 p.m. We will then review every story and pick our favorite in each age range. The winning stories will be featured on the Akron Zoo's new blog - Potter's Blog. 

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“Owl” Eyes on Our Animal Ambassadors! 

March 2, 2019
Saturday, March 2, 2019 1:57:00 PM Categories: Conservation Corner

The International Festival of Owls is an annual event that began in 2003 with the hatching day of Alice, a great horned owl from Antigo, Wisconsin. The first event was meant to encourage people to get out of the house at the end of winter, and learn a little something about owls. Now each year on the anniversary of her hatching, people travel from all over the world to join in celebrations and learn about our nocturnal feathered friends. 

Your Akron Zoo has its own parliament of education owls who are more than happy to meet people from across Northeast Ohio and teach them about owls. In fact, we have three owl ambassadors: Albus, Lorain and Hoot. Each of our owls has a unique story and a lot to share!

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Save a Songbird: It’s National Bird Feeding Month 

Feb. 27, 2019
Posted by Elena Bell Wednesday, February 27, 2019 4:34:00 PM Categories: Conservation Corner

When you think about February, many things come to mind: Super Bowl Sunday, Valentine’s Day, Groundhog Day and Black History Month, just to name a few. But did you know it is also National Bird Feeding Month?

As it turns out, February is one of the most brutal months of the year when it comes to our feathered friends. In 1994, Congressman John Porter noted that February was one of the toughest months for birds to survive. His goal in creating this observance was to encourage people to provide food, water and shelter to birds, especially in areas that experience harsh winters and where natural resources are scarce.

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Wingin' It Episode 2 

Feb. 21, 2019
Thursday, February 21, 2019 1:46:00 PM Categories: Wingin' It with Frances F. Feathers

Things are getting smelly around the Akron Zoo! In the next episode of Wingin' It, Frances meets Forest the porcupine and learns why he doesn't smell the best. 

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A Wild Valentine's Day 

Feb. 14, 2019
Thursday, February 14, 2019 1:17:00 PM Categories: Animal News Zoo Tales

Animals have weird ways of showing each other how they feel about one another, from giving gifts to eating food. No matter what you do though, you have to admit, there are a few animals who do things… well, stranger than the rest. And several of them can be found at your Akron Zoo!

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Maintaining the Monarchs 

Feb. 5, 2019
Tuesday, February 5, 2019 5:00:00 PM Categories: Conservation Corner

Monarch butterflies are truly the “kings” of the butterfly kingdom. With a wingspan of almost 5 inches, and wings of brilliant orange, red, yellow and black, monarchs are some of the largest and most visually striking butterflies in North America. 

Unfortunately, their beauty does not make them immune to our changing world, and both the eastern and western populations of this magnificent creature are in decline due to habitat destruction and pesticide use, mainly due to crop production. 

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Wingin' It Episode One 

Jan. 29, 2019
Tuesday, January 29, 2019 1:31:00 PM Categories: Wingin' It with Frances F. Feathers

Meet Frances F. Feathers - a bird enthusiast who is launching her new show at the Akron Zoo. Join Frances as she explores the zoo and learns more about animals! 

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