Monday, November 20, 2017

Get a behind the scenes look at ZooAmerica with an Early Bird Tour #HersheyPA

*** I received lodging and admission to the park for the subject matter contained in this post, all opinions are 100% my own***

Sure you may know Hershey is famous for its chocolate and amazing amusement park but did you know that located in Hershey Park is an actual zoo? This is not just any zoo, it is zoo that features many rescued animals from our continent, called ZooAmerica. You won’t find tigers, or elephants here, but you will find bobcats, eagles, and other animals that are indigenous to North America.
Have you ever wanted to get an up close and personal look of some of your favorite animals at the zoo?  If you are planning a trip to Hershey on the days the tours are held Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays you will have the chance to sign up to take the Early-Bird Tour of ZooAmerica. This special tour can accommodate up to 10 people per tour and it roughly lasts 2 hours. We recently were very fortunate to be able to check out this tour with our knowledgeable tour guide Kelly. Kelly was very friendly and seemed to really love her job and the animals she works with. Her love for the zoo was infectious and we were all excited to tour the zoo learn some facts and meet animals.

Early on a Sunday morning, on a crisp 26 degree day we joined our guide and headed out to explore the zoo. The tour takes you all over the zoo, in places that not everyone can visit. It was cool to go behind “the velvet rope” of sorts. During the tour we learned so much about the animals and their habitats and how some of the animals at ZooAmerica are actually rescue animals. It is amazing how many people get wild animals as a baby and want to raise it as a pet… 
They soon learn that they cannot handle the animal and sometimes just abandon the animal. The animals cannot survive in the wild… Then in steps ZooAmerica, this amazing place helps animals who have no one else to help them. It’s sad that these beautiful creatures never got the chance to be themselves, but if they weren’t rescued and left to live life where they were illegally owned or just set free in the woods these poor things wouldn’t have been able to survive. They’re thriving at ZooAmerica and we had the opportunity to feed them.

What are we feeding these animals? From bananas to rump roast, the animals enjoyed a variety of food.  We did not feed the animals their full breakfast, just a taste… A bit of an appetizer of sorts.
We learned that ZooAmerica has a working relationship with the restaurants of the Hershey Hotel and Lodge, food that used to be thrown away is brought over to the zoo and used to feed the animals. Don’t think they’re getting spoiled food, they’re not. What they’ll get is food parts that aren’t used in recipes and that were normally thrown away, now that refuse is turned into nourishment for the animals and is cutting back the waste from the restaurants and improving the quality of food for the animals. It really is a win-win situation. 

One of my favorite experiences was feeding the Mountain Lions, It was great to get up close and feed these great cats via huge tweezers (no we were not that close… we have to be safe) a nice chunk of meat that the cat quickly devoured. As the cat licked his face and I could hear how pleased it was. 
It reminded me of my house cats, how they react when they get treats. It was neat to see that even though, this cat is massive it is much like my house kitty in certain ways. Did you know that mountain lions can jump as high as 18 feet straight up in the air? Whoh!
We were also able to feed the Grey Wolves. This was a little different, we did not get as close, but we had the chance to launch the treat up in the air and check out their swift quick moves of the wolves as the jumped and scooped up the meat in a flash. My husband got a kick out of tossing the meat underhand to see them quickly scoop it up, and it seemed like the wolves enjoyed the treat.
We met with a Pronghorn, these animals cannot be coaxed to come out for a treat. This was surprising, heck you can get me to come over for a treat! I thought this would work on all animals, but this is not the case. What gets pronghorns excited and ready to come over is the prospect of being petted! They love to be scratched on the head. It was great getting to give these animals a treat of a nice head scratch.  
We learned that the prong horns can run from 40-50 mph for hours! They are not the fastest animal, but they have the endurance to keep up the speed for a good amount of time.  Feeding Lily the deer, was fun. 
She enjoyed her very ripe sweet smelling banana that she would gingerly pluck from your hand by her mouth. The wild turkeys were in the same area as Lily and boy were they little attention getters… they wanted to be up in front and were trying to squeeze Lily out. Don’t worry we all made sure Lily got her treats. 

The time seemed to fly by, and before you knew it we were headed inside to one of the zoo’s learning areas to meet some more little critters. We were able to pet and hold a lizard who what 17 years old… she is almost of legal age! She was very laid back and just enjoyed the petting and we each had the chance to hold her. She was so light it was as if she was barely there!
We had the chance to hold a bird of prey as well, we visited with Comet the Peregrine Falcon. We originally met up with Comet during The Falconry Experience Tour in Hershey PA earlier this year, I wonder if she remembered us? Maybe not, but it was still neat to hold her again.

Last but not least we met up with Bruce the bat (his brother’s name is Wayne… get it? Ha ha) he was so tiny! Since he is nocturnal, needless to say he was pretty tired, and squinted and then fell asleep. It was adorable! I really wanted to pet him he looked super soft (now that is something I never expected to say, I wanted to pet a bat?) but we did not have that opportunity, I still enjoyed seeing him so close up. 

During the tour my daughter was like a little kid, squealing with delight as the animals enjoyed the food she was giving them. It is nice to go to a place where each of the members of my family can have a great time, and also learn. We loved the ZooAmerica Early-Bird Tour and would highly recommend this tour to anyone who is an animal lover. 
If you plan on visiting Hershey and are looking for something cool and out of the ordinary call ZooAmerica and schedule this Early Bird Tour, the cost is $49.00 per person ages 3+ and it is worth every penny.  If you have a child in those in-between years, this tour is much more than a classic stroll around the zoo, this was much more exciting, and a must for all ages. With the cost of the tour you can also spend the day at the zoo, so be sure to make a day of it. 

On Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays from 8 – 10 AM, observe our animals as they start their day. Join a ZooAmerica educator to get an up-close and personal look at select Zoo species during the morning hours. Participants will learn fascinating information about the animals in our outside exhibits and will have the opportunity to feed some animals during their guided walk. The tour ends with touching a reptile and holding a small bird of prey!
Cost is $49 per person (ages 3+) and includes same-day admission to the Zoo. Participants must pre-register and pre-pay 72 hours in advance. ZooAmerica can accommodate up to 10 people per tour and up to 2 tours per morning. Call 717-534-3900 to register or for more information.

Stay social with ZooAmerica and visit the website:
Follow ZooAmerica on Instagram and Like ZooAmerica on Facebook.

ZooAmerica is open year-round except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Check out the ZooAmerica site for hours.

Would you like to do the Early-Bird zoo tour at ZooAmerica? 

Disclosure: The reviews and or opinions on this blog are my own opinions . No monitory compensation was received. I was not required to write a positive review. Your experience may differ. The opinions I have expressed are my own I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsement and Testimonials in Advertising .


Jackie said...

This looks like it was a great day. I'd love to visit this zoo. Thanks for the review.

Trisha McKee said...

Yes! We love the Zoo America! We go there at least once a summer. They always have exciting things happening and it never gets old.

Post a Comment

Disclosure: The reviews and or opinions on this blog are my own opinions, . No compensation was received. All opinions are my own. This is a unofficial fan site that is not affiliated with the Walt Disney Company or Disney theme parks.