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Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Zoo in Forest Park will host its annual Eggstravaganza on Saturday, April 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The event will include grab-and-go stations for children with take-and-make activities, prize-filled Easter eggs, books, and candy while supplies last. There will also be animal encounters and enrichment to allow guests an up-close look at some of the animals, as well as free face painting and visits from Felix the Fox and Andy the Armadillo.

“While the Zoo hosts Eggstravaganza every year, the staff does an amazing job of creating a new, exciting atmosphere with crafts, activities, and fun for all eventgoers each season,” said Caroline Cay Adams, director of education at the Zoo in Forest Park. “We are so honored that we can host such a popular event for the Greater Springfield community and beyond.”

Pre-registration is required to attend. No additional tickets will be sold at the door. Registration closes April 11 or when all tickets are sold. To purchase tickets, visit www.forestparkzoo.org/eggs.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — For the second time in six months, the Zoo in Forest Park & Education Center is being recognized for its innovative education programming.

Most recently, the zoo received the 2021 Educational Award of Excellence, presented by the Zoological Assoc. of America for its Kids Go Wild programming.

Kids Go Wild provides a fun, interactive way for school-aged children to learn about various animal species while exploring diets, habitats, adaptations, daily zoo life, and more through cross-hatched science, literacy, and art lessons. Each lesson also meets state education standards set forth by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in at least one or more of the aforementioned disciplines. These lessons were created, developed, and ultimately implemented by the zoo’s director of education, Caroline Cay Adams.

The one-on-one, hands-on interactions offered as part of Kids Go Wild bring the typical textbook science lessons right off the page. Kids Go Wild goes beyond single-program learning objectives by encouraging groups to book multiple programs that are implemented over a longer period of time. This ensures that the educator can scaffold lessons to incorporate themes, vocabulary, and topics from previous lesson plans, as well as offer plenty of opportunities for participants to engage with ambassador animals. Examples of lessons include Animal Adaptations; the Food Web; Living Dinosaurs; and Herbivores, Carnivores, and Omnivores.

In August 2021, Adams also received the Janet McCoy Excellence in Public Education Award from the American Assoc. of Zookeepers for her work on Kids Go Wild.

“The creative, cutting-edge work Caroline is doing as the zoo’s education director is truly remarkable,” said Sarah Tsitso, executive director of the Zoo in Forest Park & Education Center. “Gone are the days when zoo programming was strictly show-and-tell. These are valuable lessons, steeped in science and literacy, that would not otherwise be available to these young students. Caroline is leading the charge when it comes to implementing a whole new species of zoo-based learning. She deserves every award and accolade that comes her way.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Zoo in Forest Park will host its annual Spooky Safari, presented by Teddy Bear Pools & Spas, on Saturday, Oct. 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The outdoor, family-friendly Halloween event will include grab-and-go stations around the zoo with take-and-make crafts, Halloween-themed books, pre-packaged candy bags, and more for children ages 0 to 12 who have a child ticket.

“Spooky Safari gives children and adults a chance to get into the Halloween spirit, all while supporting the animals here at the zoo,” said Caroline Cay Adams, director of education at the Zoo in Forest Park. “And thanks to a donation of books we received from Reading Success by 4th Grade, we’re excited to be able to provide a book to every child that attends the event.”

The event will also feature a virtual costume contest, with winners selected for funniest, most creative, and best family/group costume, as well as a raffle. Guests will have the opportunity to win prizes from Monster Kidz Box, Springfield Museums, Riverside Reptiles, Six Flags, and the Connecticut Science Center, to name a few.

Pre-registration is required to attend, and tickets are limited. No additional tickets will be sold at the door. Registration closes Oct. 27 or when all tickets are sold out. To purchase tickets, visit www.forestparkzoo.org/spookysafari2021.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — On Oct. 1, state Sen. Eric Lesser and state Rep. Carlos González were joined by members of the Springfield legislative delegation, and Sarah Tsitso, executive director of the Zoo in Forest Park & Education Center, to announce $50,000 in funding secured for annual operations.

Lesser acted as lead budget sponsor in the Senate in securing this earmark in the FY22 budget along with House sponsor González. The FY22 budget was passed by the Senate and House and signed into law by Gov. Charlie Baker in July.

“Last year, when zoos across the country closed their doors for good, Forest Park Zoo took in dozens of animals in need of a home and welcomed 40 new animals, including two black timber wolves, a red fox, and a snowy owl,” Lesser said. “Alongside our Springfield delegation, I was proud to secure funding for educational efforts, animal care, and operations to ensure the Forest Park Zoo remains a vibrant cornerstone of our Western Mass community.”

González added that “Forest Park Zoo is more than a zoo, it’s a sanctuary. It allows for animals to be treated in a humane way and taken care of when situations arise. I’m delighted to be working with my colleagues in the Springfield delegation in a united effort to make sure that the zoo continues to thrive and drive opportunity for families in urban areas to come and see the animals here.”

These funds will help sustain the annual operations of the Zoo in Forest Park, which includes daily care of more than 240 animals 365 days per year, including several endangered species; educational opportunities for youth and adults across Western Mass.; camps during summer and school vacation weeks; collaborations with other local nonprofits, including Square One in Springfield and Girls Inc. of the Valley in Holyoke; job training and internships in the fields of biology, veterinary medicine, and animal care; tourism and marketing initiatives that encourage visitors to spend time and money in the city and our region; and opportunities for individuals and local businesses to get involved in their community through volunteer projects.

“We are tremendously grateful to Sen. Lesser, Rep. Gonzalez, and all members of the Western Massachusetts legislative delegation for their ongoing support of our work and our mission,” Tsitso said. “Our zoo is part of the very fabric of this community, serving as a resource for generations of local families and providing high-quality care for animals that need our help. The funding we are receiving as part of the state’s fiscal year 2022 budget will ensure we are able to meet the needs of more than 240 animals that call our zoo their home 365 days a year.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Zoo in Forest Park will host its fourth annual Brew at the Zoo, presented by PDC Inc., on Saturday, Sept. 25 from 1 to 5 p.m.

Beer enthusiasts will enjoy a day at the zoo complete with unlimited beer samples from local craft breweries, a home-brew competition, food trucks, live music, games, and animal interactions.

“This event is always a fan favorite, so we are thrilled to bring it back,” said Sarah Tsitso, executive director at the Zoo in Forest Park. “We are grateful to the sponsors, brewers, and guests who make Brew at the Zoo so special. All the money we raise through this event goes directly to support the 250 animals that call the zoo their home, 365 days a year.”

The event, which was canceled last year due to the pandemic, offers three ticket types: VIP, general admission, and designated driver. Attendees with a VIP ticket will enjoy an extra hour of sampling beginning at noon, the opportunity to participate in up-close animal encounters, and grain to feed the animals. This event is 21+.

The zoo will be closed to the public on Sept. 25. Advance tickets are required, and IDs will be checked at the door. For a list of participating breweries and to purchase tickets, visit www.forestparkzoo.org/brew. Limited tickets are available.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Zoo in Forest Park will host its second Virtual Trivia Night on Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m.

The event will take place on Zoom. The game will consist of four Halloween-inspired categories, each containing 15 multiple-choice questions. Players can either use a smartphone or a second browser to submit answers during the game.

“There are increased costs associated with animal care in the winter,” said Gabry Tyson, Development associate at the Zoo in Forest Park. “We received great feedback from the trivia night we hosted in July, so we thought we would bring it back for a night in October to hopefully help cover a portion of those costs.”

To play, the zoo is recommending a $25 donation per player, but the event is pay-what-you-can. Donations can be made at www.forestparkzoo.org/events-1/trivia-night.

Pre-registration is required. E-mail Tyson at [email protected] to register a team. Players can opt to play as an individual or on a team of up to six people. Registration is capped at 50 teams. The zoo will award prizes to the top teams.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Zoo in Forest Park & Education Center has received approval from the city of Springfield to open for the 2020 season. The zoo will reopen to the general public today, June 8 at 10 a.m. In accordance with Gov. Charlie Baker’s guidelines for the state’s phase 1 reopening plan, all zoo guests, including members, are required to have a timed ticket to enter the zoo.

To make a reservation, visit The zoo’s virtual box office at buytickets.at/forestparkzoo and select the date you would like to visit. From the drop-down menu, select the time of your visit. Tickets will be honored only for the time indicated on the ticket. Select how many adults, children, and/or seniors are in your party. Each time slot is limited to 10 visitors. Then, proceed to the checkout screen.

Current zoo members should also use this system to reserve time slots, utilizing the special member code sent out via e-mail; there will be no admission charge for members.

All guests should plan to arrive 15 minutes prior to the time indicated on their pre-purchased ticket. This ensures they are at the zoo ticket booth, awaiting entry, at their scheduled time. All guests over age 2 must wear a mask at all times while inside the zoo, unless prevented by a medical condition. Guests who are unable to wear a mask are asked to skip all feline exhibits in accordance with USDA regulations. Guests must remain six feet apart from other parties at all times and follow the one-way path around the zoo, avoiding sectioned-off areas and the inside of the barn.

For more information on purchasing tickets, visit www.forestparkzoo.org, or e-mail Gabry Tyson at [email protected].

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