New @ The Zoo
Meet The Animals
Just how long will it take an elephant to eat a watermelon? How does an orangutan paint a picture? Does his technique different from an elephant or a tapir? Do big cats like piñatas? Find out the answers to these intriguing questions and a lot more during Animal Enrichment Day at the Houston Zoo.
During Animal Enrichment Day, Zoo guests will enjoy a rare opportunity to see a wide variety of unique environmental enrichment and training activities. See how Andean bears solve a puzzle (Hint: There’s food inside). See cheetahs and Anatolian shepherd dogs run the lure course. And while you’re at the Zoo, don’t forget to check out our cool keepers during entertaining Meet the Keeper Talks and training demonstrations at exhibits across the Zoo (see schedule below).
But the fun doesn’t end there – Animal Enrichment Day also features enrichment for Zoo guests including games for kids, environmental tips from the Zoo’s Green Practices team and our horticulture experts, and an art gallery featuring unique paintings by Houston Zoo animals. Proceeds from art sales benefit Houston Zoo animal enrichment activities. Visit the Houston SPCA Adoption Bus and find your new best friend, see the hard working canines from Greater Houston Search Dogs, and meet representatives from The Marine Mammal Stranding Network, Moody Gardens, and the Downtown Aquarium.
10:00 Kipp Aquarium
10:00 Red Panda
10:00 Elephant Chat at Bull Yard
10:15 Natural Encounters Inside Rainforest
10:15 Reptile building
10:30 Natural Encounters Piranha
10:30 Giant Elands, Warthogs, and Nyala
10:30 Reptile building Komodo Dragon
10:45 White Necked Ravens
10:45 Natural Encounters Bats
10:45 Red Crowned Crane at Birds of the World
11:00 Tropical Bird House Rainforest
11:00 Sea Lion Show
11:00 Cinereous Vulture
11:15 Sea Lions
11:30 Natural Encounters Desert
11:45 Natural Encounters River’s Edge
12:00 Lemurs – Wortham World of Primates
12:15 Tamarins – Wortham World of Primates
12:30 Parrot – Children’s Zoo Swap Shop
12:30 Patas Monkeys – Wortham World of Primates
12:30 Chimpanzees – African Forest
12:45 Coati – Children’s Zoo
12:45 DeBrazza’s Monkeys and Mandrills – Wortham World of Primates
12:55 Raccoon – Children’s Zoo
1:00 Red-capped Mangabey – Wortham World of Primates
1:00 Lion Training Window – Enrichment Talk
1:00 Pelicans at Duck Lake
1:05 River Otter – Children’s Zoo
1:15 Swift Fox – Children’s Zoo
1:15 Swamp monkeys and Red-tailed Guenons – Wortham World of Primates
1:15 Maned Wolf
1:25 Cow at Children’s Zoo
1:30 Siamangs – Wortham World of Primates
1:30 Elephant Training
1:30 African Wild Dogs
1:30 Giraffes – African Forest
1:30 Sea Jellies – Natural Encounters
1:45 Babirusa – Wortham World of Primates
1:45 Ankole Browse
1:45 Bears – Puzzle Feeders and Produce
1:50 Fish – Natural Encounters
2:00 Orangutans – Wortham World of Primates
2:15 Meerkats – Natural Encounters
2:30 South American Anteater
2:30 Tiger Window Training Talk
2:30 Sea Lion Show
2:45 Sea Lion enrichment
3:15 Clouded Leopards
Animals in nature have to work for a living – to find food, to make nests, and to find shelter. Play is another natural activity. Life for the animals at the Houston Zoo is more predictable than in the wild. That’s why our keepers use enrichment to create variety through work and play. Keepers at the Houston Zoo create an environment for our animals that allows for physical and mental choices and challenges.
At the Houston Zoo, we choose items and activities that are safe and encourage natural behaviors. For example, orangutans in the wild make nests each time they stop to go to sleep at night. At the Houston Zoo, we give our orangutans cut branches of hackberry, mulberry, banana leaves, willow, hay or bamboo to make nests. Keepers also give them “toys” such as large indestructible balls and rubber tubes, crates and colorful fabric.
Hiding food encourages natural foraging behavior. During Enrichment Day, our maned wolves will get one of their favorite treats – cardboard boxes filled with crickets. Spectacled and grizzly bears enjoy puzzle feeders. Keepers drill holes in PVC pipes and then fill the tubes with some of the bears favorite treats. It takes more than a quick lick to get to the goodies inside!
Exercise is also a form of enrichment. You may take your dog for a long walk or play tug of war with an old sock. At the Houston Zoo, keepers encourage physical activity in a variety of ways. For instance, Malayan tigers Pandu and Hana enjoy tugging on a large plastic barrel attached to a cord. Jaguars Kan Balam and Cocoy also get barrels filled with rawhide. They manipulate the slots in the barrel to get to the yummy treats inside.