As a mom, I tip my hat to giraffe mamas throughout the world—they carry their babies 15 months. Read that again: 15 MONTHS! To top it off, they do everything standing up: eat, sleep, give birth, and probably even make those babies, too!
If you’re in San Antonio, stop by and witness the majestic beauty of this incredible species. The San Antonio Zoo’s latest expansion to Africa Live! is now home to three new giraffes: an eight-year-old father and his three-year-old sons, from Brownsville’s Gladys Porter Zoo. While there’s not a mama (cow) in the mix, you can marvel at these bulls, who grow up to 18 feet tall and have hearts bigger than a baby. (Really—their hearts are TWO FEET long!)
The elevated exhibit opening this week provides an eye-to-eye encounter. Once the the giraffes are more acclimated to their new home, visitors hand-feed them through the Giraffe Feeding Experience with giraffe lettuce sold at the feeding station.
When you’re done with the giraffes, mosey on over to the Long Neck Grill, where the chef promises more than the usual hamburger and hot dog zoo faire. There’ll be more theme-type foods in newly restyled surroundings. (I’ve heard firsthand the fried pickles and pulled pork are delicious!) Open for lunch, the grill was busy getting a face lift for the exhibit opening.
As the giraffe population declines, zoos and breeding and releasing programs have become important for conservation and education. There are fewer than 4,700 of reticulated giraffes left in the world. San Antonio Zoo has three of them. Most giraffes in zoos today were bred in captivity. Giraffe’s overall population has decreased about 40% in the last 15 years. Habitat loss, fragmentation, poaching and hunting all contribute to the declining numbers. Another contributing factor is, in some parts of the world, the belief that eating certain parts of the giraffe cures HIV/AIDS.
If you’re looking for something new and fun to do with the whole family, stop by and visit the three new guys on the block at San Antonio Zoo’s Africa Live! Their kind eyes and regal presence will leave you in awe.
Here’s an even better idea: check them out in the early evening and stroll through San Antonio Zoo Lights Holiday Nights fun. This holiday season the zoo will be lit up in the evenings with thousands of lights and unexpected color combinations—full of entertainment, dining, displays, and memories for the entire family. Games, rides, and Santa photos will be available for the little ones, as well as limited edition SAZoo products (think teacher gifts and unique stocking stuffers!), good food, and a Wishing Tree for all. For $10, you can place an ornament on the tree inside Beastro Restaurant. Each ornament will sponsor one student’s trip to the zoo. Let’s decorate that tree!