Zoo Celebrates 90th Birthday with '90 Days of Summer' Fun

Date: 
Tue, 04/24/2012

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – April 24, 2012 – Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is celebrating its 90th birthday this year with the ’90 Days of Summer” beginning Memorial Day Weekend and ending Labor Day Weekend. Come to the Zoo and enjoy reduced admission, $1 carousel rides, and lots more! A complete calendar of events from mid-May through Labor Day follows, along with a brief history of Connecticut’s only zoo.
 
“All of us at the Zoo are excited to celebrate our 90thbirthday and the ’90 Days of Summer,’ which promises tons of great programming and special surprises all year long,” stated Gregg Dancho, Zoo Director. “Come join us and be part of the fun!”
 
‘90 Days of Summer’ Promotions*
Memorial Day, May 28 – Labor Day, September 3, 2012:
 
Mondays: Roll Back Monday – all admission prices roll back to only $9!
 
Tuesdays:$1 carousel rides
 
Wednesdays:Receive half price admission if you were born in the 90s! MUST SHOW PROOF (Valid photo ID, birth certificate, passport, report card) Hint: If you were born in the 90s, you’d be 12-22 years old.
 
Thursdays: If it’s a scorcher (over 90 degrees Fahrenheit), receive one free child admission with one paying adult.
 
Fridays: Be the 90thguest and get in FREE and receive a special gift just for you!
 
*NOTE: These offers do NOT apply to groups. Cannot be combined with any other discounts or coupons.
 
Birthday Bonus! As a gift to all Zoo visitors, anyone who comes to Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo on his or her birthday gets in free (Photo ID with birthday required. Valid through 12/31/12).
 
History of Connecticut’s Only Zoo
Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is a premier family destination and one of the state’s top tourist attractions, welcoming over 280,000 visitors annually. The zoo is situated on 52 acres in historic Beardsley Park in Bridgeport.
 
Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo began to take shape in 1878 when James Beardsley donated more than 100 acres to the City of Bridgeport on the condition that it “accept and keep the same forever as a public park...” In 1884, the City contracted noted landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who was famous for New York’s Central Park, to design Beardsley Park.
 
Parks Commissioner Wesley Hayes started a campaign in 1920 for a city zoo to be founded in Beardsley Park. He asked Bridgeport citizens to donate animals and 18 exotic birds made their home in the park in the first year. The Barnum & Bailey Circus donated some “retirees,” and Beardsley Park Zoo was established in 1922.
 
Today the Connecticut Zoological Society, with assistance from the City of Bridgeport and State of Connecticut, runs the zoo year-round as a private, non-profit institution with more than 300 animals representing North and South America. Highlights include an indoor Tropical Rainforest, New England Farmyard, walk-through aviary, including a new Bald eagle exhibit, Wolf Observation Learning Facility (WOLF), carousel, and Victorian greenhouse.
 
As part of its mission, Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is involved in groundbreaking animal conservation efforts. The Zoo is home to the first Brazilian ocelot ever to have multiple pregnancies and kittens produced by artificial insemination. Similarly, the Zoo is the first accredited zoo in the northeast to welcome a Chacoan peccary piglet and was the first accredited zoo in the northeast to exhibit this endangered species.
 
Little known facts about Connecticut’s only Zoo: The Zoo is…

  • Located in a park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted;
  • Registered on the USDA Forest Service National Registry for the 9/11 Living Memorials Project;
  • Site of a world record (upside down juggling);
  • Location of several TV, movie, music videos, and commercials;
  • Home of the restored carousel horses from the legendary Pleasure Beach Carousel; and
  • Host of Connecticut Free Shakespeare summer theater.

 
Mid-May – Labor Day 2012 Calendar of Events
 
May 19, Zoo’s 90thBirthday Party! 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
It’s our birthday and we’re having a party! Kids of all ages will enjoy activities galore and spectacular surprises all day long. You never know who will be here with special birthday greetings and tasty treats to share… so plan to be here and bring the whole family!
 
May 20,Bridgeport Day at the Zoo, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is proud to invite ALL Bridgeport residents to come to the Zoo for a reduced admission fee of just $5 with proper I.D. Meet and greet with city officials, business and civic leaders, friends, and neighbors during a fun filled day for the whole family. Spend the day visiting new animals at the Zoo and enjoying the great outdoors. This event is presented in partnership with Mayor Bill Finch and the City of Bridgeport. Rain date: June 10.
 
May 28, Memorial Day, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
‘90 Days of Summer’ promotions begin
 
June 2012
 
June 2, Milford Day at the Zoo, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is proud to invite ALL Milford residents to come to the Zoo for a reduced admission fee of just $5 with proper I.D. Meet and greet with town officials, business and civic leaders, friends, and neighbors during a fun filled day for the whole family. Spend the day visiting new animals at the Zoo and enjoying the great outdoors. This event is presented in partnership with the Town of Milford.
 
June 2 Wild Wine, Beer & Food Safari, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Join us for a fantastic, adults-only fundraiser at the Zoo featuring food from local restaurants plus the latest in wine and beer selections. Tickets are $55 per person; groups of four or more are $50 each. Tickets are $60 at the door. Enjoy a VIP experience that includes a behind-the-scenes tour from 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm for $100 per person. VIP tickets must be purchased in advance. The evening includes entertainment, an amazing silent auction, and much more. Don't miss this expedition of taste while supporting Connecticut's only Zoo! For tickets, sponsorship opportunities, to become a volunteer, food or wine vendor or to donate an auction item, contact the development office at 203-394-6569 or email ebobowick@beardsleyzoo.orgTickets may be purchased at www.beardsleyzoo.org. Be sure to buy your tickets early, as this event has sold out two years in a row! This event is hosted by Wine Emporium of Shelton.
 
June 9: World Oceans Day, 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Come celebrate the world’s oceans at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo. Meet sea creatures up close, learndirectly from the experts, create fun sea life crafts, and explore our ocean heritage!
 
June 17: Father’s Day
Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is celebrating all dads today. Spend quality time with dad this Father’s Day – join him at the Zoo today and he gets in FREE! While at the Zoo, be sure to visit some of our animal dads, Rizzo the North American otter, Hampton the Guinea hog, and D.J. the Pronghorn, to name a few.
 
June 20: Evening Lecture Series: View from a Kayak, 7:00 pm
Take a slow, summer paddle down a lazy river with speaker Jeff Feldmann. Moose, hawks, herons, eagles, and more will be our companions for the evening as we check out the view from a kayak. There is a $5 suggested donation. Refreshments will be served. This lecture, taking place in the Hanson Exploration Station, is part of the Evening Lecture Series, sponsored by Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo Volunteer Association. 
 
June 23: Animal Enrichment Day, 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Animal Enrichment Day gives visitors an opportunity to learn about how Zoo staff enriches the mental and physical well being of our animals. Join us for four interactive enrichment making activities at 11:30 am, 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm, and 2:30 pm. Listen as Zoo staff explains the demonstration and see a display of enrichment items used at the Zoo.
 
June 23 - 30: Family Favorite Chris Rowlands LIVE, 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 3:00 pm daily
Famous for getting everyone involved, Rowlands brings animals to life through kid-friendly songs, dance, puppets, and colorful props. Chris creatively blends music, comedy, and education to create fast paced, interactive shows that teach and inspire young people. Children are invited to wear fun hats and sing along with Rowlands on stage as he shares his self- penned songs about animals and their environment. Free with paid admission to the Zoo. Each performance is 30-35 minutes long.
 
July 2012
 
July 9 – 13, 16 – 20, 23 – 27, 30, 31: Animal Tales, 1:00 pm
Visit us for story time, a special craft and even an animal encounter each weekday. Free with Zoo admission. Families with children under age 6 are welcome.
 
July 9 – 13, 16 – 20, 23 – 27: Zoo Patrol, 9:00 am – 12:30 pm
Zoo Patrol is an exciting summer activities program offered for children. Situated on Zoo grounds, children participate in talks and activities with Zoo staff, play animal-related games, and participate in arts and crafts. Each day’s activities vary and may include preparing an animal enrichment item, going on nature walks, and getting a glimpse behind the scenes. Sessions run Monday through Friday. Each week is $130/child for Zoo members and $155/child for non-members. Week one is for children ages 6 – 8; week two is for children ages 9 – 11; week three is for children ages 12 – 14.Advance registration is required. For more information and to register, please call 203-394-6563.
 
July 13 – 15, 18 – 22: Connecticut Free Shakespeare presents “Romeo and Juliet,” 8:00 pm
Connecticut Free Shakespeare celebrates another extraordinary summer at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo by presenting “Romeo and Juliet.” Performance begins at 8:00 pm; Zoo opens for picnics at 6:30 pm. All shows at the Peacock Pavilion. Show cancels if inclement weather. FREE. For more information, call 203-393-3213 or visit www.ctfreeshakespeare.org.
 
July 15 – 21: Toucans/Two Can Days at Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo
Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo will host Toucans/Two Can Days in partnership with local food banks to help feed hungry families in the greater Bridgeport region. Two can visit for the price of one with a donation of two cans of non-perishable food. This promotion applies to general admission rates only and may not be combined with other offers. Donation bins will be located by the Zoo's ticket booth.
 
July 18: Evening Lecture Series: Cougars Come to Town, 7:00 pm
Bill Betty, a mountain lion aficionado from Rhode Island, will discuss the often-controversial subject of cougars in the Northeast. His presentation includes cougar behavior, sport hunting, reproduction, pets, predation, and habituation. Various theories of cougar reoccupation in the Northeast will be discussed. His narrative of close encounters with nature's perfect predator gives compelling testimony about the presence of cougars in New England.There is a $5 suggested donation. Refreshments will be served. This lecture, taking place in the Hanson Exploration Station, is part of the Evening Lecture Series, sponsored by Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo Volunteer Association.
 
July 26 – July 31: Family Favorite Chris Rowlands LIVE, 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 3:00 pm daily
Famous for getting everyone involved, Rowlands brings animals to life through kid-friendly songs, dance, puppets, and colorful props. Chris creatively blends music, comedy, and education to create fast paced, interactive shows that teach and inspire young people. Children are invited to wear fun hats and sing along with Rowlands on stage as he shares his self- penned songs about animals and their environment. Free with paid admission to the Zoo. Each performance is 30-35 minutes long.
 
August 2012
 
August 1 – 31, Rainforest Reptile Shows
Monday – Wednesday 12:30 pm, Thursday and Friday 10:30 am and 12:30 pm, and Saturday and Sunday 10:30 am, 12:30 pm, and 2:30 pm
Rainforest Reptile Shows features exotic crawlers, unusual slithers, and fascinating creepers, all of which are creatures of the rainforest. Experience direct contact with live animals, artifacts, and fascinating stories about these unusual animals and their natural habitats. Meet “Fred,” Rainforest Reptiles’ 7-foot alligator. Show runs 30 minutes. Visit the Zoo Reptile Trailer, a mobile exhibit featuring 40 live animal displays, open daily from 10:00 am – 3:30 pm. Show and Reptile Trailer are free with paid admission to the Zoo.
 
August 3 – 10, Family Favorite Chris Rowlands LIVE, 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 3:00 pm
Famous for getting everyone involved, Rowlands brings animals to life through kid-friendly songs, dance, puppets, and colorful props. Chris creatively blends music, comedy, and education to create fast paced, interactive shows that teach and inspire young people. Children are invited to wear fun hats and sing along with Rowlands on stage as he shares his self- penned songs about animals and their environment. Free with paid admission to the Zoo. Each performance is 30-35 minutes long.
 
August 1 – 3, 6 – 10, & 13 - 17: Animal Tales, 1:00 pm
Visit us for story time, a special craft, and even an animal encounter each weekday. Free with Zoo admission. Families with children under age 6 are welcome.
 
July 30 – August 3, 6 – 10, 13 - 17: Zoo Patrol, 9:00 am – 12:30 pm
Zoo Patrol is an exciting summer activities program offered for children. Situated on Zoo grounds, children participate in talks and activities with Zoo staff, play animal-related games, and participate in arts and crafts. Each day’s activities vary and may include preparing an animal enrichment item, nature walks and getting a glimpse behind the scenes. Sessions run Monday through Friday. Each week is $130/child for Zoo members and $155/child for non-members. Week one is for children ages 6 – 8; week two is for children ages 9 – 11; week three is for children ages 12 – 14. Advance registration is required. For more information and to register, please call 203-394-6563.
 
August 11: Teddy Bear Fest, 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Bring your favorite teddy bear friend to the Zoo! This “beary” fun day will feature children’s crafts and storytelling focusing on Bear Awareness and the facts about real bears.Free admission for children under age 12 who bring their teddy bear to the “Teddy Bear Clinic” and are accompanied by a paying adult.
 
August 15: Evening Lecture Series: Crocodiles in Paradise, 7:00 pm
Join world-renowned crocodilian expert Peter Braizitis as he regales the audience with stories of his life working with nature’s oldest reptiles.He is an expert witness in smuggling cases and showing which patterns prove an importer was trafficking in endangered species. He has hunted Goliath frogs through the swamps of Cameroon and he is the father of a crucial advance in the captive breeding of crocodilians: a reliable way to tell males from females. Come hear his fascinating tales from over four decades of working with gators. There is a $5 suggested donation. Refreshments will be served. This lecture, taking place in the Hanson Exploration Station, is part of the Evening Lecture Series, sponsored by Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo Volunteer Association.
 
September 2012
 
September 3, Labor Day, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
‘90 Days of Summer’ promotions end
 
Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo is closer than you think and 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 also are admitted free. Parking at the Zoo is free of charge.
 
# # #
 
About Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo
Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo celebrates its 90th birthday in 2012 and is closer than you think! Connecticut’s only zoo features 300 animals representing primarily North and South American species. Visitors won’t want to miss our Amur (Siberian) tigers, Brazilian ocelots, Red wolves, 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