Located in the Northern State in the city of Anchorage is the diverse Alaska Zoo, which is home to numerous mammals and birds that are local and from around the world. Visitors are welcomed to come to the center to learn more about wildlife and the zoo has a variety of educational and outreach events to foster knowledge about animals. With a serious of programs that specialize in animal rehabilitation, research, wildlife conservation and education, the Zoo is dedicated to encouraging visitors to engage with the Artic environment. The mission of the non-profit Alaska Zoo is to provide a home for animals while providing a welcoming environment for visitors to enjoy the animals.
Beginning in 1968, the institution was first called the Alaska Children’s Zoo that began because of a baby Asian elephant named Annabelle. A resident in Anchorage named Jack Snyder had the option of $3000 or a baby elephant after winning a contest in 1966. He chose the elephant and created an area for the public to view the Annabelle and other donated animals. Since then the Zoo has continued to operate and grow over four decades and now has a variety of exhibits and animals from around the world. In the Discovery Center at the Zoo, visitors can discover more about the history of the Zoo and how the institution strives to preserve and educate people on the wildlife in Alaska.
The Alaska Zoo has more than 100 mammals and birds and 50 different specifies throughout its diverse exhibits. The zoo is filled with injured, orphaned and captive-born mammals from around the world, and is also a home to non-releasable and injured birds. Some of the most exotic exhibits are the Bactrian Camels, Amur Tigers, and Tibetan Yaks. However the zoo has a large spread of mammals and birds that are native to Northern areas including Polar Bears, Snow Leopards, Moose, Snowy Owls, and Boreal Owls. The exhibit featuring the Bactrian Camels, showcases the camels that originate from near Iran and visitors can learn about the diets of the herbivores, their lifestyle and their natural habitats in the Gobi Desert. The elegant Amur Tiger has a home in the Alaska Zoo, people learn more about the carnivorous cat and where the tiger originates from in Eastern Russian, China, and North Korea. Another exotic animal is the Tibetan Yak, this large animal is quick on its feet and is a fantastic climber due to its natural habitat in Tibet. The diversity of animals within the zoo allows visitors to have a well-rounded learning experience when visiting the center.
Education is an important emphasis in the Alaska Zoo, not only does the center offer a variety of programs the zoo also is engaged in animal rehabilitation and wildlife conservation. To teach visitors more about the environment and animals of the Artic and sub-Artic there are Research Programs, Conservation Efforts, Wildlife Wednesdays
In the Research Programs facilitated by the zoo, currently the brown bear is being examined in the UAA Brown Bear Dietary Study. In the past various animals have been studied such as the Amur Tiger, Harbor Seal, Snow Leopard, and Canadian Lynx.
In the Conservation Efforts the Alaska Zoo is involved with the conservation of wildlife in the tropics as well of the artic and subarctic wildlife. The center is focused on studying a species of endangered turtles in Southeast Asia as well as continuing its efforts of protecting Polar Bears who are loosing their habitat due to climate change. In Wildlife Wednesdays, visitors at the zoo can come to an event to hear a speaker talk more in depth about animals native to Alaska.
Dedicated to having a variety of events for members of the community, the Alaska Zoo caters to providing fun and educational programs for people of all ages. Some of the programs that encourage community enrichment include Yoga at the Alaska Zoo, Wolf Day, and Zoo Boo. Yoga at the Zoo is taught from September to May in the unique backdrop of the zoo, which is designed to allow students to thrive in the wildlife environment. Wolf Day is a family event open to the public that happens every October, and is a day of games, crafts, education, stories, and a scavenger hunt, which is themed around the Northern canine. At the end of October, everyone is invited to spend Halloween at the Zoo to have a spooktacular time while dressed in costume and taking part in trick-or-treating, activities, and a bonfire.
4731 I Rd, O'Malley, AK 99507, Phone: 907-346-2133