Noon Presentations – each day in the amphitheater
Every day at noon, our visitors will have a chance to get up close and personal with one of the animals in our care. Our keepers will bring out the animal of the day and share the animal’s history with you, tell you interesting facts about the animal, where they come from, what they like to eat and how they live in the wild. This is a great opportunity to learn about the animals in our care.
Behavioral Enrichment- throughout the day
Big Bear Alpine Zoo’s Enrichment Philosophy
The natural behaviors of our animals will direct our behavioral enrichment and will assist our keepers in the determination of enrichment activities based solely on the behaviors they wish to elicit.
Enrichment can be defined as: as a dynamic process for enhancing animal environments within the context of the animals’ behavioral biology and natural history. Environmental changes are made with the goal of increasing the animal’s behavioral choices and drawing out their species-appropriate behaviors, thus enhancing animal welfare.
Types of enrichment:
Enrichment is provided in a variety of ways, such as:
- Exhibit design: provides a variety of substrates, levels, and complexities.
- Training: interaction with the keeper and proper training allows an animal to choose to participate. This is also useful in gaining the animal’s trust and allows the keeper close, visual observations of that animal.
- Olfactory: a keeper can introduce natural predator or prey scents, in addition to novel smells or pheromone scents.
- Auditory: taped sounds or vocalizations can simulate things that an animal may hear in the wild.
- Food related: this is the most widely used form of enrichment. Keepers can present food in a variety of ways such as in a simple puzzle feeder, hidden throughout the enclosure, scattered about the enclosure, or buried in a substrate. To get the food, the animal must use natural foraging behaviors and/or mentally solve the puzzle.
- Novel objects: various items placed in an animal’s enclosure allow the animal to mimic behaviors exhibited in the wild or could challenge them. These items could include burlap bags, sheets, boomer balls, chew toys, or a hammock. Often, novel objects will be combined with food related enrichment. For example, burlap bags may be filled with hay and treats and tied closed. The animal would then have to get into the bag and sort through the hay to get to the treats.
- Research: Participation in a research projects offers mental stimulation. (i.e., foraging skills research with giant pandas, cognitive research with orangutans)
Flash Light Safari – Every Saturday Night in October
Normal admission costs apply.
Gates open at 6:30 pm and tour begins at 7:00 pm. There will be no admissions after 7:00 pm.
Tour lasts one hour and is limited to 140 people.
Take a walk on the wild side, in the safety of the zoo! Groups of approximately 30-40 people will roam the zoo with a keeper and a docent as your special guide for the night. The keeper will show you how the animals behave at night and will pay special attention to our nocturnal creatures. This night time tour is a real crowd pleaser.
Guests are encouraged to wear sturdy shoes, bring a flashlight and wear a heavy coat, hat and gloves. It gets really cold at night during the fall months and it is extremely dark on zoo grounds. For your enjoyment, please come prepared.