Children’s Zoo sad to announce the passing of four iconic animal residents


It is with a heavy heart that the Children’s Zoo announces the passing of four iconic, geriatric animal residents: Andy the Jersey cow, Josie and Bonnie the Clydesdale horses, and Zena the grey wolf. While under close observations from zoo staff due to elevated ages, it became apparent that they were all suffering—each in their own way. Much like a family must do with their beloved pet, the decision had to be made based on the quality of life for our four furry friends. On Wednesday, October 28th, our historic residents were humanely euthanized while surrounded by their zookeepers. 

 cow jersey

Due to the zoo's dedication to provide the best possible care, many animals live long lives, far surpassing maximum ages reached in the wild. Caring for geriatric animals requires extra special attention from our zookeepers, and with so many living here at the zoo, it has become a large portion of their job. They must administer medicine and supplements, weigh their animals often, be aware of any changes in eating habits, and be observant of even the slightest changes in behavior.  


Andy was born on a dairy farm among hundreds of cattle. He arrived at the Children’s Zoo in 2007 at the age of 8, and has been showing off his pearly whites since. He would often be seen grooming his hoofed friends, sticking his tongue in his nose, or flashing his iconic smile at visitors. Extreme age, combined with worsening of a pre-existing physical condition which hindered his mobility, compromised his quality of life.


After years of pulling carriages, Bonnie and Josie arrived at the Children’s Zoo in 2007 to spend their “retirement years.” These gentle giants have delighted zoo-goers for years, always eager for a good nose-scratching from visitors large and small.  Bonnie suffered from chronic joint deterioration, combined more recently with an infection that did not respond to multiple treatment attempts. Josie exhibited sudden, extreme weight loss which did not improve from increased food consumption.  As each of these symptoms began to worsen, the two were exhibiting significant signs of pain and discomfort.

 grey wolf zena

Zena, everybody’s favorite white wolf, came to the zoo as a spry 2-year old in 2000.  She has helped educate countless zoo visitors over the course of her life, inspiring awe in the natural world.  Her adorable antics of interacting with enrichment, spying on guests from behind the trees, and wading in her pond has endeared her to visitors during the last 15 years.  Having outlived 3 companion wolves while at the zoo, Zena began to display symptoms of chronic joint deterioration earlier this year. As time passed, her symptoms progressed dramatically to the point where she was having difficulty moving about her exhibit. Zookeepers also noticed severe behavioral changes, all of which indicated failing health and a compromised quality of life.   


In this difficult moment, we invite you to grieve with us. If Andy, Bonnie, Josie, or Zena had a special place in your heart, please join us for a memorial service during our Holidays in the Heart of the City event on November 20th, 5:30 – 8:30pm. There is free admission into the event. If you would like to share a memory or a picture(s) to be used during the memorial, please send them to, or share them on our facebook page at


The zoo would like to thank the community for its ongoing support. We expect a busy winter as we move forward, bringing in new animals and acclimating them to your zoo. Even though we just closed for the season, we are already looking forward to seeing you in the spring of 2016! 

horse clydes 1


Our Newest Addition is OTTER-ly adorable!

We are exploding with excitement to announce the newest addition to the Children’s Zoo: TNT, the North American river otter! We have been introducing him to Bootie, the river otter that currently lives here. On the morning of June 8th, the two went on exhibit together for the first time! Visit us on Facebook to see their adorable video.

North American river otters are highly territorial mammals. Until just a few months ago, the Children’s Zoo was home to two female river otters, Bootie and Mika. Unfortunately, the two never became friends. Mika passed away this last winter as the oldest living North American river otter in a facility accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

Unable to survive in the wild, Bootie found a home at the Children’s Zoo, where she is an ambassador for her species. Having been born in the wild, Bootie is a great candidate for breeding in the North American river otter Species Survival Plan (SSP), a global AZA sponsored program that works toward saving animals from extinction. With the new available space, and a recommendation from AZA to breed, it was decided that a young male should join her. The Brookgreen Gardens, located in South Carolina, offered to loan TNT to us, hoping the two would produce healthy babies called pups. A natural aquatic acrobat, make plans to see TNT’s silly water antics this summer!

Click here to watch a video of Bootie and TNT going on exhibit for the first time together!



Coo-coo-come and see the newest residents at the Children's Zoo!


The aviary has eight new feathered friends waiting to coo at you this summer! Friendly and sociable, ring-necked doves are the perfect addition to the flock.

Originating from Africa, ring-necked doves are named for a dark patch of feathers that circle around their neck. They have gentle personalities, often spending their afternoons softly crooning at passing guests. Don’t be surprised if one of them lands on your finger while trying to nibble at your millet treat this summer!

As with all new animals that arrive to the Zoo, the doves are currently in quarantine, and must be temporarily kept apart from the cockatiels that normally live in the aviary. Once out of quarantine, the other birds will join them in the exhibit on the first weekend of June. While the aviary is not currently open for walkthroughs, you can still observe the doves from outside the exhibit.

We are hoping to create a larger population of our new coo-ing friends through breeding, so be on the lookout for fluffy baby birds. 



You have GOAT to meet our newest friends!

Bouncing, leaping, and prancing—these are just a few of the silly antics our newest residents like to pull. Flash and Fraser, two adorable baby pygmy goats, will soon be seen hoofing it around the goat yard. The two will join Bandit and Buttons, the alpine goats, in mid-June. Check out our Facebook page daily for the most current, up-to-date news at the Zoo, including the goats official debut date!

Pygmy goats originally hail from West Africa. Their friendly, curious, and playful nature, as well as their hardiness and ability to adapt to most climates, has allowed the pygmy goats to spread all over the world. Enjoyed as both pets and dairy producers, pygmy goats can be found on many farms across the United States.

The goat yard is now officially open for visitors to enter and join our hoofed friends. Kids (and kids at heart!) can now pet and groom the goats, allowing for tactile learning and development.

Fraser, mostly white with caramel flecks and black feet, is the big softy between the two. He will probably be found leaning against your legs, or nibbling gently at your shoelaces. Flash, on the other hand, is ready to show off his fearless leaping abilities! Mostly black with two white racing stripes up his sides, he is often seen bouncing off of various logs and rocks as he fights invisible bad guys. 

Flash Fraser

videos and social media 

Looking for some extra Zoo fun? Visit our Youtube channel, our Instagram, or our Periscope to see another side of the Children's Zoo you might not get to encounter during your visit. 

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