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Zoo Special Event Calendar

Animal Enrichment Day Summer 2020 -- VIRTUAL

VIRTUAL Animal Enrichment Day, Saturday, August 1, 10am – 2pm. Observe in the comfort of your home how animals respond to an assortment of new creative and behavior-stimulating enrichment.

  • Date: 08/01/2020 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM  
  • Location: Montgomery Zoo and Mann Wildlife Museum
    2301 Coliseum Parkway
    Montgomery, Alabama 36110
  • Introduction: The goal of Animal Enrichment is to safely stimulate and reproduce behaviors that are natural for each animal in the wild. Placing different stimuli in the animals’ environment allows animals to use their five basic senses while they exercise. It is a lot of trial and error, but it is always fun!

Join the Montgomery Zoo Saturday, August 1, 10am – 2pm, for VIRTUAL Animal Enrichment Day.  This Animal Enrichment Day will be a little different. We will tour the Zoo VIRTUALLY during our enrichment event and observe how animals respond to an assortment of new creative and behavior-stimulating enrichment items. 

Guests will be invited to take part in the semi-annual event in the comfort of their own homes. We will still be including our normal cast of characters, including the tigers, elephants, chimpanzees, and jaguars; however, out guests get to beat the heat and remain safe and cool by watching this experience online. Enrichment can be any number of different stimuli presented in the form of special toys, unique scents, puzzles, boxed goodies or food treats.  The enrichment items we provide to our Zoo animals are for both mental and physical exercise.  With seasonal temperatures, many of the items will have a cooling or warming effect.

This season for Animal Enrichment Day, we will be doing things a little differently. Due to the COVID-19 virus and for the protection of our guests, we decided to try something new.  Animal Enrichment Day, August 1, will be held online. It will be VIRTUAL. We will be providing the same exciting and stimulating enrichment for our animals, but you will get to view it all in the comfort of your home. Which on a hot August day in Alabama, that sounds like a pretty cool thing. Plus by doing this virtually, we will be able to provide more insight on the value of enrichment, our conservation efforts, and create more awareness on what we do as a zoo. 

So, what can you expect when you tune in? First, I guess we should tell you where to tune in. On Saturday, August 1 beginning at 10am, please tune into the Zoo’s web site, Facebook page, or YouTube Channel.  You can view all the enrichment sessions online, and in the comfort of your own home. Plus, should you accidentally miss one or want to view it again, it will remained archived on each of these media sources. 

More information about VIRTUAL Animal Enrichment Day
Yes, we may be providing Animal Enrichment Day in a different manner; however, our goal still remains the same. Enrichment is all about providing our animals with both physical and cognitive stimuli that is natural to their behavior in the wild. Virtual or not, we will remain true to that methodology.  Animal enrichment is not always about providing a reward or a treat. The goal is to try to stimulate a behavior that would normally be found naturally in that species. So foraging animals would find searching for nuts, seeds, fruits, as a good enrichment; however, providing the same item to a predator may result negatively.    

At the Montgomery Zoo, we house a variety of species, of all different shapes and sizes, from all over the world. To guarantee that these animals have the best care possible, we ensure they have a clean habitat, fresh food and water, and that they are receiving the proper healthcare needed. We also offer the animals plenty of what the zoological field calls enrichment. Enrichment can be defined as anything that improves or enhances the quality and value of the animals’ lives. The goal in offering animals enrichment is to encourage natural behaviors and entice them to interact with new and exciting objects that will stimulate them physically and mentally. Enrichment can be categorized as sensory, social, cognitive, physical habitat, or food related. Some examples of enrichment are puzzle feeders, spices, sounds, browse (plant material), new benches/perches, and even zookeeper/animal training.

The needs of the animals can be as unique as the animal itself. Some animals need to be stimulated mentally for instance primates. In the wild, primates will use “tools” to help them achieve tasks such as finding food or retrieving insects out of dirt mounds or trees. Other animals need to be stimulated physically to make sure they are staying in shape and healthy. We can offer them fun toys that encourage them to run, jump, swim, or climb to get them moving. Some animals have extraordinary senses: such as sight, smell, or hearing.  If an animal has a really good sense of smell we can hide fun scents for them to search for and find.

Zookeepers give the animals enrichment daily, but we also have special events called Enrichment Days where the public get to see animals interact with enrichment up close and personal. Even humans can be enriched, and what better way to do so than to come out and see amazing animals having fun. So make sure you mark your calendars, you do not want to miss it! 

Potential enrichment line-up
1) Education Serval and Dingo with Danielle 
2) Condors with Wayne and/or Alexis
3) Komodo dragon with Rachel and Ken
4) Education black-throated monitor with Danielle 
5) Flamingos with Wayne
6) Maned wolves with Alexis
7) Cougar / Lynx with Jen
8) Black bear with Jen
9) African hoofstock with Cassy and Collin
10) Chimps with Kaitlyn
11) Elephants with Sean
12) Petting Zoo with Bekah
13) Tigers with Bekah
14) Message from Michelle, our Enrichment Manager, on the importance of Zoos and enrichment -- not just in Zoo animals' lives, but with our pets at home and with ourselves.

Animal surpirses (maybe) 
13) Lemurs (South America)
14) Squirrel monkeys (South America)
15) Marmoset  (South America)
16) Lions (Africa)
17) Parakeets (Australia)
18) Military Macaw and/or raptors (Education) 

For more information, please contact: 
-- (334) 625-4900

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