Hattiesburg Zoo to hold 66th annual Birthday Bash

Hattiesburg Zoo to hold 66th annual Birthday Bash
Photo credit: Hattiesburg Tourism Commission
Photo credit: Hattiesburg Tourism Commission

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from the Hattiesburg Tourism Commission. 

The Hattiesburg Zoo will offer guests a chance to see what happens behind the scenes at the Zoo at this year's Birthday Bash: Hattiesburg Zoo Unzipped. On Saturday, April 16th the public is invited to come celebrate the 66th anniversary of the Hattiesburg Zoo from 10am-4pm. Celebrations include rides, Splash Pad, specialty concession items for purchase, special animal enrichment activities, and cake.  The Hattiesburg Zoo will debut brand new, exclusive tours throughout the day at Birthday Bash. Several Zoo Keepers will take guests to restricted areas of the Zoo not typically open to the public, while also giving guests the chance to get closer to animals than ever before.

"I am really excited about Birthday Bash 2016 because our guests will have the opportunity to experience the Zoo like they never have before," Ann Ferrell Cauthen, Special Events Coordinator for the Hattiesburg Convention Commission said. "Curious guests will have the chance to see what it's like to be a keeper at the Hattiesburg Zoo by partaking in our behind- the -scenes tours. Our animal

care staff will be conducting tours in several areas to include the tiger holding, and the jaguar exhibit, just to name a few! This event is definitely not one to miss," Cauthen said.

The Zoo will offer six tours—four of which are included with admission, and two for an extra fee. The four tours included with admission include; a Jaguar Holding and Exhibit Tour, Animal Hospital Tour, African Barn Tour, and the Animal Care Building Tour. The two tours available for purchase include a Tiger Tour (for ages 5 and up ) and the Asbury Discovery Center Tour, where guests will have the chance to "go behind the glass" and get a chance to see where the zoo's sloths, Chewy and Mo, hang out all day. The two paid tours are available for an additional $5.

Hattiesburg Zoo Outreach Manager, Jeremy Cumpton, says there will be plenty to do throughout the day, including some educational opportunities, "Be on the lookout for keepers conducting animal encounters throughout the day or stop by one of our various Bio Fact stations to see a tiger print or an ostrich egg up close," Cumpton said . "In addition to our birthday activities, we have also invited other conservation agencies from all over Mississippi to take this opportunity to inform and educate

our guests on important environmental issues.  We are very excited to host these agencies and to unite with them to preserve Mississippi's natural beauty," Cumpton said.

Guests who have not had the chance to meet the Zoo's sloths, Chewy and Mo, can enter a raffle to win a Sloth Experience, valued at $40. A Sloth Experience is a private 45 minute experience where a small group of guests have the opportunity to interact with the sloths up close, and learn more about their behaviors and diet. Proceeds from the raffle will benefit the Giant Anteater Project, a project founded by a conservation agency working to support research and conservation of giant anteaters, like the Zoo's own giant anteater, Fred.

Tickets to the Hattiesburg Zoo Unzipped: Birthday Bash 2016 are $10 per person aged 2 and up. Tickets include unlimited rides, Splash Pad, and birthday cake. Tickets will be available for purchase the day of the event, and advance tickets are available online at HattiesburgZoo.com. Tickets for the exclusive Zoo Tours will only be available for sale the day of Birthday Bash . Tickets for tours are first come first serve. A limited number of tickets will be available due to size restrictions on the tours.

For additional information on the Zoo, call the Hattiesburg Zoo at 601.545.4576 or visit the Zoo's website or on the Hattiesburg Zoo Facebook page.