Located in Boise, Idaho, Zoo Boise aims to connect its visitors with animals to inspire and involve them in wildlife conservation. The goal of the Zoo is to increase public awareness and appreciation of wildlife through a variety of educational programs, special events, and hundreds of animals to visit up-close-and-personal.
Zoo Boise is a part of the Julia Davis Park and was founded in 1916 under some interesting circumstances. When a monkey escaped from a local circus and was found near Mountain Home, Idaho, the Zoo was started on the park land. During the meat rationing of Great Depression, many animals were donated to the zoo by circuses and others who could not afford their care.
During the next decade, the park and the Zoo began to expand through a series of generous land donations. Eventually the addition of a rose garden, an art museum, and a university were all added to the park. Since then, the Zoo has continued to add new animals, educational programs, and attractions, making it one of the most beloved destinations in Julia Davis Park.
There are hundreds of animals to visit at Zoo Boise, including amphibians, anthropoids, birds, fish, mammals and reptiles. These animals range from all over the world including Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America.
Some of the most featured creatures include the Amur Tiger, The Magellanic Penguins, Red Pandas, Snow Leopards, Komodo Dragons, Bald Eagles, and of course, the Lions.
Visitors can also feed giraffes and sloth bears or visit the Zoo Farm. It is open year-round and allows visitors to feed goats, sheep, and llamas for a small fee.
Every summer, the Butterflies in Bloom Exhibit is in full swing. Considered everyone’s favorite attraction at the zoo, visitors will stroll through a greenhouse in full bloom. Hundreds of fragrant flowers and colorful Costa Rican butterflies will engulf visitors as they explore the sunlit greenhouse. This exhibit is included with zoo admission and is open yearly from June through Labor Day.
There are a variety of annual and seasonal attractions include the Eater EGGstravaganza, Mother’s Day Brunch, and various others. For more information and a full calendar of events, please visit the Zoo Boise Event Calendar.
The Zoo Boise Conservation Fund is the Zoo’s effort to turn the act of visiting into action. Portions of every admission ticket and popular attractions goes into the Conservation Fund which supports the protection of wild animals around the world.
Visitors can also “adopt” animals they visit at the zoo for a small donation and will receive an official adoption form and regular updates regarding their new “pet”. It is a great way to get young visitors involved with animal appreciation and conservation.
One of the most interesting conservation attractions to visit is the Conservation Cruise. Visitors will be whisked away on a relaxing cruise through a lagoon on a solar powered boat. On the cruise, visitors will see endangered wildlife roaming free in their natural habitat. All proceedings go to the Conservation Fund.
The zoo provides visitors with unique and engaging wildlife-focused educational experiences to foster a passion and appreciation for animals and their habitats. They also aim to raise awareness regarding conservation and issues and ways they can make a positive impact.
The Zoo’s educational programs include a variety of techniques including animal encounters, tours, nature hikes, ecology game and interactive activities, science-based exploration and research, and even zoo keeper presentations.
For the youngest zoo lovers, there is Preschool Zoo, where adults and their preschool-aged children can participate in activities featuring a different animal each week. There are all sorts of activities such as listening to stories, meeting live animals, and making crafts.
There is also Homeschool Zoo, a similar program aimed a home-schooled children ages 5-7. The course provides the students with laboratory experiments and activities, animal encounters, and classroom discussions. Weekly themes vary and align with Idaho State Science Standards.
Programs are aimed at school and youth groups as well as families and adults. These programs take place during the winter and spring seasons and visitors must pre-register.
There are also a variety of public programs happening daily, including animal presentations and encounters. The most famous animals available for visitors to meet include Sloth Bears and Giraffes.
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Zoo Boise, 355 Julia Davis Drive, Boise, Idaho 83702, Phone: 208-608-7760