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Committed to Conservation

Committed to Conservation Research

Conservation is at the heart of what we do. Through financial support and participation in scientific research projects, Alexandria Zoo contributes to the care and conservation of animals both in human care and in the wild.

Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited members are committed to advancing scientific knowledge of the animals in our care, enhancing the conservation of wild populations, and engaging and inspiring our visitors.

Alexandria Zoo recently contributed to several scientific research projects.

Maned Wolf Nutrition & Care
Researchers are working to improve the nutrition and care of maned wolves in zoos. Profile and overhead photos of each maned wolf, along with photos of their fecal samples and habitats, were collected and sent to be analyzed. This data will be used to develop a body conditioning score chart, standardized fecal consistency scoring, and update the maned wolf animal care manual.

Bear Survey
AZA’s Taxon Advisory Groups "are responsible for developing an action plan that identifies essential goals, scientific investigations, and conservation initiatives needed to best serve ex-situ (in human care) and in-situ (in the wild) populations." The Bear TAG recently conducted a survey to gather current husbandry practices from all AZA facilities holding bears to develop and update animal care manuals. Questions included information regarding nutrition, reproduction, physical facilities, and social groupings.

Two-toed Sloth DNA Testing
Alexandria Zoo participates in the Two-toed Sloth Species Survival Plan (SSP) program in addition to over 50 other SSPs. These programs manage selected wildlife species in order to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining population. Since it can be difficult to determine species (Linne’s two-toed or Hoffman’s two-toed) and sex in sloths based on physical characteristics, the two-toed sloth SSP is collecting saliva samples to genetically test each sloth. The results of the research will aid in population management.

North American River Otter Genetic Studies
Through the use of blood samples, this study will utilize Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) tools to survey the genomes of individual otters to evaluate relationships between geographically diverse populations. Additional benefits will be the identification of genetic markers for use in determining paternity, source populations, population genetic diversity, gene flow and migration, introgression and even taxonomy. This information can also be used with data from studies of ecology, physiology, veterinary medicine, and natural history to illuminate particularly important aspects of otter biology that can assist long-term conservation work.

Red River Cleanup

Zoo participates in Red River Cleanup

With a conservation goal of protecting our local streams and rivers, a team from the Alexandria Zoo recently participated in a beach cleanup right here in our own backyard.

With an increasing amount of single use plastics being consumed, the environmental impact of these products finding their way into our waterways can be severe. To prevent local wildlife from accidently consuming or becoming entwined in these disposable plastics, the Zoo staff and volunteers decided to do their part and pick them up first!

Equipped with bags, gloves, and boots, the team spent a couple of hours collecting rubbish along a stretch of over 500 yards of the Alexandria City Commons and Levee Park shoreline. The team found everything from old shoes and cellphones to countless straws, bottles, and cigarette butts. In total, the team collected over 57 pounds of garbage and over three pounds of recyclable materials.


What are microplastics and why are they harmful to our oceans and aquatic life? Learn more here.

World Oceans Day

Turn the tide for ocean conservation

The ocean. It’s Earth’s largest habitat. Covering 70% of the Earth’s surface, these vast bodies of water are critical to all life. Oceans are home to an estimated 230,000 species, produce around 50% of the oxygen on the planet, and drive the world’s weather.

However, human activities are altering the landscape of our oceans. Overfishing, oil spills, garbage, and greenhouse gases are not only a threat to sea life but also human health. Some predict that by 2050, plastic will outweigh fish in the ocean!

Each year, over 8 million tons of plastic trash flows into the ocean. Single-use items like plastic straws, water bottles and bags account for 40% of this plastic waste. But we can turn the tide by reducing our use of these products and choosing reusable options.

Together, we can raise awareness about ocean conservation and tackle plastic pollution.

Zoo Day

Alexandria Zoo has your soundtrack for summer

Soak in the sights and sounds of summer at Cenla’s wildest outdoor music venue on Saturday, June 16. Alexandria Zoo’s Zoo Day presented by Walker Kia boasts an incredible lineup of nine music acts on two stages!

This annual free event features tunes for all tastes, from blues and jazz to rock and country. Performers include 92-Twenty, Leo Cole and the Blues Rockets, Bobby Rhodes and the Ministry of Jazz, Peas and Cornbread, Tammy Hromadka, DC Sills, CG Jazz Trio, SNAZZ and Free For All.

"It's so important that we share Alexandria's wonderful Zoo with everyone," said Lee Ann Whitt, Zoo Director. "Come see the changes, enjoy the beautiful scenery, discover wildlife from around the world and see how you can help us save species… all while making fun family memories!"

Have an appetite as big as a lion? Tasty treats are available for purchase from the Palm Café, Domino’s Pizza, and A La Mode Creamery.

Zoo Day presented by Walker Kia is Saturday, June 16, 2018 from 10 am – 4 pm. Admission is free. Train tickets, Gift Shop souvenirs, stroller rentals, and concessions available for purchase. Two trolleys will be shuttling visitors to and from parking areas surrounding the Zoo.

Special thanks to the City of Alexandria and Friends of the Alexandria Zoo for making this day possible.

Music Schedule

World Turtle Day

Shell-ebrate World Turtle Day

Turtles, tortoises and terrapins are marvelous creatures. In honor of World Turtle Day, we’re sharing 10 "turtally" awesome facts about some of Alexandria Zoo's terrific Testudines.

1. Alligator snapping turtles lure fish into their mouth by wiggling their tongue, which has a special attachment shaped like a worm. When a curious fish or other unwary prey tries to eat the decoy "worm," the turtle's massive jaws close on the prey.

2. Galapagos tortoises are the largest living tortoises in the world, with some exceeding 5 feet in length and reaching 550 pounds. They can even live to be over 100 years old.

3. The red-eared slider gets its name from the distinctive red marks around the ear, and their ability to slide quickly off rocks and logs into water.

4. A snake-necked turtle’s long neck (including head) can sometimes exceed the length of its shell.

5. Among land tortoises, leopard tortoises have the longest incubation period – with some records indicating an incubation of more than 400 days.

6. Because they are so heavy, Aldabra tortoises are terrible swimmers, but enjoy cooling off in shallow water and mud.

7. Unlike other turtles, the spiny softshell turtle lacks horny scutes. Instead, they are covered with a tough, pliable, leathery skin.

8. Box turtles can completely withdraw their head, legs and tail within the shell to protect themselves from predators.

9. The musk turtle can spray a foul-smelling, yellowish fluid from two pairs of musk glands when disturbed. The odor is so vile it has earned this turtle the nickname "stinkpot."

10. The yellow-footed tortoise is the largest of three species of mainland tortoises found in South America.

Mother's Day

A Night all about Members

FOTAZ Members are a valued part of our Zoo family, and on Thursday, May 24, Friends of the Alexandria Zoo is crafting a night all about YOU!

Alexandria Zoo will stay open late from 5 pm – 7 pm for FOTAZ Family Night, an exclusive after-hours FOTAZ Members-Only event. From animal encounters and behind-the-scenes tours to train rides and a light meal, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Members can experience special behind-the-scenes looks at the Andean bear den and the renovated Animal Health Center, and up-close encounters with some cool creatures. Visit your favorite animals and talk with zookeepers located through the Zoo.

Members will also be treated to a complimentary train ride, loaded nachos and a drink.

Alexandria Zoo will close early at 3 pm (with the last admission at 2:30 pm) to prepare for the event before reopening at 5 pm.

Please RSVP by Tuesday, May 22 so we can get an accurate count for food preparation. You must be a current FOTAZ member to attend. Your membership card and a photo ID is required to enter. The number of guests you may bring to members' evenings is limited to the number of people listed on your membership card.

Who can attend FOTAZ Members-only events?

  • For an Individual membership, the primary card holder is included
  • For a Household membership, the one or two primary adults and any children listed on the card are included (Note: a listed adult must be present to bring the children).
  • For Household Plus and higher, the one or two primary adults, any children listed on the card, and the "Plus" person are included (Note: a listed adult must be present to bring the children and "Plus" person).
  • Third Adults can also attend if they are listed on the membership.
  • Be sure to have your membership card and photo ID (for listed adult names) to check in at the front gate.
  • No non-members, members of other zoos/aquariums or one-time use guest passes are admitted to FOTAZ members-only events.

RSVP Now

Mother's Day

Celebrate Mother's Day with our animals

Looking for a fun Mother's Day activity? Bring your mom to visit some of our special animal mothers!

Alexandria Zoo is celebrating Mother’s Day by treating moms to a day at the zoo on Sunday, May 13, 2018. Mothers and grandmothers will receive free admission.

The zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, with last admission at 4:30 pm. Tickets for non-mothers are $7.50 for adults and teens, $5.50 for children ages 4-12, and $4.50 for seniors ages 65+. Children 3 and under get in free.

Free admission for mothers is valid on Sunday, May 13, 2018, and cannot be combined with any other discount or offer. No refunds or rain checks will be issued due to inclement weather.

Party for the Planet

It's a Party for the Planet

On Saturday, April 21, connect with nature and wildlife at Alexandria Zoo’s annual Party for the Planet from 11 am – 3 pm. With over 100 AZA zoos and aquariums participating, Party for the Planet is the largest combined Earth Day celebration in North America.

Engage with local eco-conscious organizations to learn fun, simple ways we can protect our planet at interactive booths with activities, games, and giveaways. Kids can pick up a passport and go on a quest for discovery to complete challenges at designated booths and earn stamps to win a prize.

Watch enrichment activities, get up-close with some cool creatures, and talk with keepers to learn what the Zoo is doing to help protect threatened and endangered species.

There will also be live music by Common Ground, Juba Normand & Mike Barrett, and Tammy Hromadka, and a character meet-and-greet with the recycling pup that never lets anything go to waste.

Small actions can make a big impact toward saving our planet's resources! And together, we can save wildlife and wild places.

Regular zoo admission. FOTAZ members are free with card and photo ID.

Thank you to our participating organizations!
City of Alexandria (Code Enforcement Services, Environmental Compliance, & Department of Urban Forestry), Cleco, Girl Scouts, LOPA (Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency), Lowe’s Home Improvement, Rapides Parish Library, Ray's Pharmacies, Target, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Forest Service/ Kisatchie National Forest, and Walker KIA.

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Make Every Day Earth Day

6 Ways You Can Make Every Day Earth Day

Whether it's sharing your passion for animals with others or using your power as a consumer to help wildlife and wild places, there are simple actions we can all do to help make every day Earth Day!

1. Learn and Share. Being informed on environmental matters is key to finding solutions. Learn about your favorite animals by visiting Alexandria Zoo, reading books, and researching online. Spread the word to others about the value of wildlife, and share how much you care about animals and their habitats.

2. Love seafood as much as our river otters? You can be a culinary conservationist when you dine by choosing sustainably sourced seafood like Alexandria Zoo! Check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch app. It’s a great resource to help consumers and businesses make choices for a healthy ocean.

3. Palm oil is in many of the items we eat and use every day, causing it to be in high demand. The spread of non-sustainable palm oil plantations is fueling destruction of rainforests and threatening endangered species. However, if sustainably grown, palm oil can be a great choice for vegetable oil. You can make a difference for siamangs, orangutans, elephants and more by choosing products that are palm oil friendly. Look for the RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) label on products and download the Palm Oil Shopping Guide App to use when you shop.

4. Deforestation is a rampant problem across forest habitats around the globe. It’s estimated that tigers now occur in less than 7% of their original range in Asia. By choosing products produced by companies that practice responsible forest management, you can help reduce deforestation and minimize impacts on tigers and their forest friends. Look for paper and wood products that have Forest Stewardship Council certification.

5. Follow the frog. Choose products that bear the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal, which is awarded to farms, forests, and businesses that meet rigorous environmental and social standards. The Rainforest Alliance protects biodiversity through landscape management that helps conserve standing forests, rejuvenate degraded land, and protect rivers and streams.

6. Did you know $5 of every FOTAZ Membership helps support conservation projects all over the world? Through FOTAZ, Alexandria Zoo financially contributes to conservation projects in North America, South America, Central America, Asia and Africa. By donating to FOTAZ, you're helping care for wildlife and wild places both locally and globally. Learn more about Alexandria Zoo's conservation efforts.

Donate to FOTAZ

Learn More about Sustainable Shopping

AZA Accreditation

Alexandria Zoological Park Earns Prestigious AZA Accreditation

The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) announced that Alexandria Zoological Park was once again granted accreditation by AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission. Alexandria Zoo has been accredited by AZA since 1986 and, in 2015, was honored with the association’s Quarter Century Award, denoting over 25 years of continuous accreditation and long-time commitment to excellence.

"Only the very best zoos and aquariums can meet the 'gold standards' set for accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums," said AZA President and CEO Dan Ashe. "By achieving AZA-accreditation, Alexandria Zoo demonstrates that it is committed to exemplary animal care and welfare, educational and inspiring guest experiences, and AZA’s mission to conserve our world’s wild animals and wild places."

To be accredited, Alexandria Zoo underwent a thorough review to make certain it has and will continue to meet ever-rising standards in categories which include animal care and welfare, veterinary programs, conservation, education, and safety. AZA requires zoos and aquariums to successfully complete this rigorous accreditation process every five years in order to be members of the Association.

The accreditation process includes a detailed application and a meticulous on-site inspection by a team of trained zoo and aquarium professionals. The inspecting team observes all aspects of the institution’s operation, including animal care and welfare; keeper training; safety for visitors, staff and animals; educational programs; conservation efforts; veterinary programs; financial stability; risk management; visitor services; and more. Finally, top officials are interviewed at a formal hearing of AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission, after which accreditation is granted, tabled, or denied. Any institution that is denied may reapply one year after the Commission’s decision is made.

"The Alexandria Zoo administration has always recognized the importance of AZA Accreditation," said Zoo Director Lee Ann Whitt. "For our Zoo to be the best it can be, it is essential to follow these strict AZA standards that ensure the best animal welfare, world conservation involvement, and premiere educational programming."

Fewer than 10 percent of animal exhibitors registered with USDA have achieved AZA accreditation. Just 232 zoos and aquariums are accredited by the AZA.

The AZA inspection team noted a number of achievements following their visit, including the Alexandria Zoo’s recent renovations of the Animal Health Center, which "provide exceptionally high quality facilities for the animal collection."

Alexandria Zoo was also commended for its increase in financial support for conservation efforts and the diversity of species in its care, which is a "reflection of their commitment to provide the community with exposure to a wide variety of wildlife, and enhancing an appreciation for the world's wildlife."

"Having maintained AZA accreditation since 1986 is a testament to the hard work, dedication and support of our staff, the City Administration and City Council, Friends of the Alexandria Zoo, volunteers, and our community as a whole," said Whitt. "I am truly grateful!"

Summer Safari

Calling all Zooper Heroes!

This summer, set off for adventure at Alexandria Zoo's Summer Safari. We're searching the zooniverse for recruits to help protect wildlife and wild places around the world! Will you join our team of Zooper Heroes?

Learn to harness your powers to protect creatures great and small as you team up with Captain Amerigator, Wonder Wolf and the rest of the mighty zooper heroes.

Uncover the fascinating animal world with zoo tours, up-close animal experiences, special behind-the-scenes tours, train rides, visits with zookeepers and more.

Camps are for ages Pre-k through 6th grade and run weekly. Registration is now open for both FOTAZ members and non-members. Details and registration information are available on our website.

Learn More

Creature Feature

Tune in to Creature Feature

Journey behind the scenes of Alexandria Zoo as we explore captivating animal stories and share our passion for wildlife and wild places.

Alexandria Zoo's new weekly web series, Creature Feature, offers viewers untamed access to our extraordinary animals and the dedicated individuals that provide them with exceptional care.

Creature Feature can be viewed on Alexandria Zoo’s website, Facebook page, and YouTube channel. New episodes air Thursdays.

Watch Now

World Frog Day

Hop over to Alexandria Zoo for World Frog Day

"Every journey begins with a single hop." – Kermit the Frog

What's so important about frogs? Frogs and other amphibians are not only a key link in the food web, they also serve as environmental indicators and are vital resources for human medicines.

On Saturday, March 17 from 10 am – 2 pm, Alexandria Zoo is celebrating these amazing animals with World Frog Day, part of our Lagniappe Series.

"World Frog Day is chance for us to appreciate these unique and sometimes misunderstood creatures," said Curator of Education Zakary Shafer.

See how you measure up in a jump off with various frogs, watch live feeding demonstrations, and make your own toad abode to protect frogs that live near you.

Visitors will also get a look at some of the zoo's newest additions. "We are so excited to share with everyone, our new amphibian ambassadors, the red-eyed tree frogs," said Shafer.

Join Alexandria Zoo for some "ribbeting" fun and leap into action for frogs.

World Frog Day is part of Alexandria Zoo’s Lagniappe Series. All activities are included with regular admission. FOTAZ Members are free with card and photo ID.

School Field Trips

Ignite your students' curiosity

Is your class or group planning a trip to the Zoo? Alexandria Zoo offers unparalleled opportunities to ignite your students’ curiosity for wildlife and wild places.

"The Zoo really is an extension of the classroom that can be utilized by teachers and community members to connect children and really people of all ages to the wonders of wildlife in a unique, engaging, and inspiring way," said Curator of Education Zakary Shafer.

The Education Department offers short, 20-minute programs held during your field trip. These engaging, inquiry-based programs include up-close encounters with some of Alexandria Zoo's education animal ambassadors. There is no additional charge beyond zoo admission.

"Each program is taught using scientific inquiry and is adapted to the age and size of your class or group," said Shafer. "They are exciting with hands on animal encounters, educational with applicable next gen science standards, and have just enough theatrics to make them fun!"

Programs topics include Forest Friends, Gross Out, Conservation Heroes, Predator & Prey: A Game of Survival, and Animal Kingdom. Education programs can be scheduled online when reserving your field trip date.

For program topic descriptions and other essential field trip information, please click here.

jaguar

Applications being accepted for summer internships

Applications are now being accepted for summer internship opportunities at Alexandria Zoo. Students can gain valuable experience and develop a variety of professional skills in the areas of conservation education, animal care, conservation research, volunteer management and communications.

Students must be enrolled as a sophomore or higher in an accredited college/university or recently graduated in an applicable field of study.

For more information on internship opportunities and requirements, please click here.

jaguar

Love Connection: Saving species through matchmaking

"Matchmaker, Matchmaker, make me a match, find me a find, catch me a catch." For humans, finding Mr. or Mrs. Right has evolved from little black books to online dating sites, but what about finding that perfect mate in the animal world?

For AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) accredited facilities, Species Survival Plans (SSP) determine animal matchmaking. The program was created to help ensure the survival of selected endangered or threatened species.

"SSPs utilize databases that contain information on all of the animals in AZA zoos and aquariums," said General Curator Lisa Laskoski. "This includes each animal’s entire demographic history and family lineage." The data is critical to pairing animals in order to maintain healthy, genetically diverse, self-sustaining populations, not only for today, but also well into the future.

Alexandria Zoo participates in over 50 Species Survival Plan programs for animals ranging from a 400-gram Prevost's squirrel to a 450-pound Aldabra tortoise. "When matching animals, the SSP coordinators consider factors such as genetics, logistics, personality, and space availability," said Laskoski. This means participation in these programs does not always equate to a breeding pair of animals. AZA zoos and aquariums also provide spaces for elderly animals or other individuals without breeding recommendations.

In addition to population management, SSPs also participate in a variety of other cooperative conservation activities such as research, public education, reintroduction, and field projects.

AZA accredited zoos and aquariums continue to play an increasing role in wildlife conservation. Through programs such as SSPs, zoos and aquariums are working together to ensure extinction meets its match.

Prevost's squirrel

Squirrel of a different color

Step outside just about anywhere in Louisiana and you're likely to spot a squirrel. However, unlike the gray (Sciurus carolinensis) or fox (Sciurus niger) squirrel, you won't see this one in your backyard.

The Prevost's squirrel (Callosciurus prevostii) is found in the forests, cultivated areas and gardens of Southeast Asia. This species is also called the tri-colored squirrel. Their striking black, white and chestnut red bands of fur make them one of the most colorful squirrels in the world.

The Prevost's squirrel is not endangered, but plantations have replaced much of its native habitat. An easy way to help Prevost’s squirrels and their forest friends is to choose products that are eco-friendly. Making simple changes in our purchasing can go a long way towards conserving resources and animal habitats.

Alexandria Zoo participates in the Prevost's Squirrel Species Survival Plan®. Through programs like SSPs, AZA accredited zoos and aquariums across North America work together to help maintain healthy and self-sustaining populations.

Where is the Prevost's squirrel in the Zoo? Its current temporary home is at the Australian Walkabout.


Want more information on being a sustainable shopper? Check out these apps.

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Parade over to Alexandria Zoo for the Mardi Gras Party

Parade over to Alexandria Zoo for the Mardi Gras Party

The animals are askin' for you at Alexandria Zoo! Don your purple, green and gold and parade over to the Zoo for the Mardi Gras Party Saturday, February 10 from 2 pm – 4 pm.

Sink your teeth into a delicious slice of Atwood’s Bakery king cake, mambo to live music by the LaCour Trio, and visit with costume characters.

Regular Zoo admission. FOTAZ members are free with card and photo ID. Sponsored by Friends of the Alexandria Zoo, Atwood's Bakery, and City of Alexandria.

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Brown pelicans join Alexandria Zoo's flock

Brown pelicans join Alexandria Zoo's flock

Grover, Bert, and Elmo, three juvenile brown pelicans, have moved into the neighborhood. The trio is now at home in the Louisiana Habitat exhibit.

Brown pelicans hunt with spectacular head-first dives. They will fly high up into the air, then fold back their wings and plunge into the water to scoop up fish. The wild born birds all have wing injuries that prevent them from being rehabilitated and returned to the wild.

The brown pelican, Louisiana's state bird, is a conservation success story. The population faced a drastic decline as a result of the extensive use of the pesticide DDT, which is now banned. After nearly forty years, the brown pelican was removed from the endangered species list in 2009.

Zoo staff assists local bird count

Zoo staff members assist local bird count

Conservation is a goal in every action we take at Alexandria Zoo. In a step towards achieving these goals, Alexandria Zoo recently participated in the annual Holiday Bird Count hosted by the Audubon Society.

A team from Alexandria Zoo's animal care staff volunteered their time and skill set to aid local bird watchers. Arriving in the field early in the morning the team was able to spot over 50 unique species throughout the day including hawks, kingfishers, and owls.

"The counts of the species the team saw will be added to the national database and will provide crucial data to conservationist and policy makers for years to come," said Zakary Shafer, Curator of Education. This in turn will aid native birds through habitat restoration and development.

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Open Daily 9 am - 5 pm

Closed only Thanksgiving, Christmas, & New Year's Day

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Address

Alexandria Zoo
3016 Masonic Drive
Alexandria, LA 71301
P: (318) 441-6810

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