Zooper Hero salamander mascot to make special appearance
Move over, Sunday Funday – it’s time for Salamander Saturday at the Detroit Zoo. This family-friendly event is set for May 4, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., in the National Amphibian Conservation Center and is free with admission.
The event will include opportunities to learn about the 700 species of salamanders – including sirens, newts, mudpuppies and more – through zookeeper talks, learning stations, hands-on activities and story-reading. Guests will compare small and large salamanders, explore maps to see where salamanders are found around the world and observe the mudpuppy houses built by local youth as part of a conservation program through the Detroit Zoological Society’s (DZS’s) partnership with Oakland County Children’s Village. The DZS’s work to conserve salamanders in the wild will also be highlighted.
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“Salamanders are critical indicators of environmental health,” said Dr. Ruth Marcec, DZS director of the National Amphibian Conservation Center. “We hope this event will bring attention to and excitement for this valuable species.”
The newest Zooper Hero mascot – a Mexican salamander called an axolotl – will make a special appearance at the event. Zooper Heroes are costumed characters that greet visitors and pose for pictures at DZS events and in the community. These mascots – which also include a giraffe, polar bear, penguin and junior zookeepers – have served as goodwill ambassadors for the Detroit Zoo since 2011 to encourage and excite young guests to learn about wildlife.
The National Amphibian Conservation Center houses a spectacular diversity of salamanders as well as frogs, toads and caecilians. It was distinguished as the first major conservation facility dedicated entirely to conserving and exhibiting amphibians when it opened in 2000. Dubbed “Disneyland for toads” by The Wall Street Journal, the award-winning, state-of-the-art facility is world renowned for amphibian conservation, care, exhibition and research.
The Detroit Zoological Society – a renowned leader in humane education, wildlife conservation, animal welfare and environmental sustainability – operates the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Center. With an annual regional economic impact of more than $167 million, the Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak is one of Michigan’s largest paid family attractions, hosting more than 1.3 million visitors annually. Its 125 acres of award-winning naturalistic habitats are home to 2,400 animals representing 235 species. The Belle Isle Nature Center sits on a 5-acre site surrounded by undisturbed forested wetlands on Belle Isle State Park in Detroit. It provides year-round educational, recreational and environmental conservation opportunities for the community. For hours, prices, directions and other information, call (248) 541-5717 or visit detroitzoo.org.