Intern Diary #1

We’re doing something a little different. The next few entries are going to be written by our interns.


Intern Diary #1
Lisa D.

Being an intern at Southwick’s Zoo is definitely a dirty job at times, but more often than not, it is very rewarding. Over the past couple months I have learned quite a bit about the animals around the zoo, and I’ve learned even more about the animals in the EARTH building where I spend a majority of my time. We are responsible for roughly 60 animals at the Earth Discovery Center. This includes feeding them, cleaning their enclosures, training them, and creating enrichment for them.IMG_2031

One animal that I have been working closely with over the last few weeks is a blue and gold macaw named Spaz. Spaz is 22 years old and was hatched here at the zoo! He and his half-brother Merlin have lived with us ever since. Spaz has fascinated me since I started my internship back in May. He is extremely intelligent (as most birds are) and knows many different words and phrases such as “cracker”, “hello”, and “goodbye”. He can even laugh and roar! I watched one of my supervisors bond with one of our other birds in the building by spending time with him and sharing her lunch with him on occasion. I learned that the act of sharing food with the bird resembles what some birds do for each other, which is regurgitating food for one another in order to bond.

To build a relationship with Spaz I began spending more time with him doing different things such as sharing snacks, talking to him, and asking him to roar or say things like “cracker” for small treats. This went on for about a week until one of my supervisors decided it was time to test the bond. He was going to see if Spaz would step up onto my arm. This definitely requires trust on both sides. Blue and gold macaws are large birds that have a bite strength of 500-700lbs of force! Needless to say, this was a little intimidating at first. After learning exactly what I had to do in order to make sure I giving all the right signals and commands to Spaz, in a way that he and I would both be comfortable, he stepped up onto my arm. It doesn’t sound like much, but knowing the power that these birds have in their beak, it was pretty exciting. The fact that he did step up meant that he remembered who I was out of all the interns and, according to my supervisor, actually likes me! I have never known much about birds and what they are capable of, nor had much experience handling them. I cannot wait to continue to work with Spaz and build our trust bond even more.

Lions, Tigers, and Beers…oh my!

Lions + Tigers + Beers = a pretty amazing Summer evening.

instagram photo

EARTH Ltd‘s popular fundraiser is back for a second year! Join us on August 1st 5pm-8pm for Lion, Tigers, and Beers for a beer tasting here at Southwick’s Zoo. You’ll be able to walk around the zoo then head up to the event tent to try a variety of beers, ciders, and wine! Event admission also includes food (snack type foods such as chips, nachos, and hotdogs) andnon-alcoholic beverages.

Participating breweries include:

Last year we sold out right before the start of Lions, Tigers, and Beers so we suggest stopping by or calling the EARTH Discovery Center at: 1-800-258-9182 ext 208 to reserve your spots on the guest list. You can pay using credit card over the phone or when you check in the night of the event. Prices are $25 for EARTH Members and $35 for nonmembers. Remember, this event is 21+ ONLY and ID is required for entry.


ZooBabies Day

This Sunday is ZooBabies Day! If you follow our news blog and Facebook page, you probably know that we’ve had quite a few new additions this season. We have babies in over 20 different species including giraffes, red kangaroos, pygmy goats, potbellied pigs, lemurs, numerous monkey species, sloth, and more! On ZooBabies Day we highlight our newest arrivals by placing birth certificates6 around the zoo. Our docents will have tables set up in different locations with activities to learn more about baby animals. There will also be two scavenger hunts: one for younger children, and a more challenging version for older kids and adults.

piglet 1We also have a few events around the zoo scheduled. Stop by the EARTH Discovery Center at 11:00am to watch us feed a baby African Crested Porcupine. Did you know that porcupines are born with quills? Then head to the giraffe habitat for a 12:30 baby giraffe feeding. We’ll also be doing baby primate enrichment at the Schmidt’s Guenon habitat at 2:00pm and then there will be a presentation about baby animals at the EARTH Discovery Center at 3:000pm.

If you love baby animals be sure to stop by the zoo Sunday July 20th! ZooBabies Day is included with normal zoo admission and lasts from 10am-5pm.

zoobabies fb

EARTH Bash Tickets

Lions, Tigers, and Beers

ZooBabies Day 2014


Who loves baby animals?

Everyone.20140630_122310 (3)

Join us Sunday July 20 at Southwick’s Zoo for our annual ZooBabies Day! This is the day where we highlight all of the season’s new arrivals. If you follow us on facebook you probably know we had A LOT of babies this year including giraffes, kangaroos, porcupines, piglets, and many goats. Our volunteers will have tables set up throughout the zoo for our visitors to learn more about baby animals and there will be special activities. ZooBabies Day is included with normal admission rates and is a day long event.

zoobabies fb


Rhino Week So Far

thelmaRight now we’re in the middle of Rhino Week! We are celebrating rhinos and rhino conservation all week long with activities and events.

We are currently holding a raffle for prizes including rhino encounters and zoo passes, so if you are in the zoo between now and Sunday stop by the EARTH Discovery Center to buy a raffle ticket! We are also holding a Save the Rhinos Poster Contest. The deadline is August 1st, so there’s still plenty of time to create your masterpiece!

On Sunday we had a rhino scavenger hunt which involved finding cutouts of the five rhino species hidden in the zoo. We’ll be doing this again on Saturday the 12th (the last day of rhino week).

On Monday we tried a new rhino enrichment. Enrichment is important for animals in captivity because it helps to keep them stimulated mentally and physically. It can also help encourage natural DSC00257behaviors. Rhinos have very poor eyesight, but excellent senses of smell. We put a large log in the habitat and put Chrome cologne on one side and a vanilla musk on the other. The log provides them with something to rub their horns on and the scents provide them with something unfamiliar for them to investigate. Our rhinos, Thelma especially, showed a clear preference for Chrome!

We repeated the enrichment on Wednesday, except we used peppermint oil and cinnamon this time. We were surprised to see that they were interested in neither of the smells. This may be because the scented log was no longer new and novel, because they simply weren’t interested in either scent, or it may have just been too hot out. We’re trying again on Saturday with two new smells, so who knows what they’ll do!

rhino trimmedTonight we have a rhino themed after hours event from 6-8pm. It’s free for EARTH members and $15/adult nonmember and $10/child nonmember. The zoo will be open to explore, but make sure you are back at the EARTH Discovery Center for a presentation from Bill Konstant from the International Rhino Foundation and a raffle.

Friday night we have a new and exciting event 6pm-8pm called Winos For Rhinos! It’s a 21+ ONLY event and $15/nonmembers and $10/ EARTH members. The zoo will be open for guests and there will be a wine tasting provided by Zoll Cellars and The Naked Grape and a presentation by Bill Konstant from the IRF.

Saturday is the last day of Rhino Week. There will be a scavenger hunt and we will be doing more rhino enrichment. Proceeds from this week’s after hours events and raffle ticket sales will all go to the International Rhino Foundation. We’ll post more photos at the end of the week!

July Events

We have some great events coming up in July! First we are holding are first ever Rhino Week July 6-12. We are taking an entire week to celebrate rhinos and promote conservation efforts. During the day we are going to provide the rhinos with special enrichment items.


We’re also going to have two after-hours events during this week. On Thursday July 10 we have an EARTH Member rhinoweekAppreciation after-hours with a presentation by Bill Konstant from the IRF. On Friday July 11 we are having another after hours event called “Winos for Rhinos“. This 21+ event will feature a presentation about rhino conservation from Bill Konstant and a wine tasting from Zoll Cellars and The Naked Grape. Click HERE to learn more about these two events and Rhino Week.

Also in relation to Rhino Week, we are currently holding a “Save the Rhinos” poster contest! We are inviting our artistic fans to design and create posters about rhinoceros conservation. Winners receive 2 free general admission passes and their poster will be displayed inside of the EARTH Discovery Center here at Southwick’s Zoo. This contest is open to all age groups and the deadline to enter is July 12. Click HERE for rules and how to enter.


Sunday July 20 is the always popular ZooBabies Day! We will be highlighting all of this year’s births. If you’ve been following us on facebook then you know how many we’ve had this year including giraffes, a sloth, tapir, goats, pot bellied pigs, and more! This event is 10am-5pm and is included with normal zoo admission.

This little tapir is one of the many new babies here at Southwick's Zoo.

This little tapir is one of the many new babies here at Southwick’s Zoo.



Rhino Poster Contest

Father’s Day at Southwick’s Zoo

We’re showing our appreciation for dads by offering them half price general admission on Sunday June 15! Stop by and say hi some of our favorite zoo dads such as Terry the chimp and Midas the giraffe.Terry and Tanzie

Note: This offer is only available for general admission  tickets purchased at zoo admissions on Sunday. The discount cannot be applied to ticket purchased online.