Spend Independence Day at Zoo Atlanta
Thursday, July 3, 2014
Giant otters make their debut, the Splash Fountain jets are on, and the Zoo is open for family fun
Planning on grabbing hamburgers and hot dogs from the grill, enjoying ice cream, and beating the heat this Independence Day? Do it somewhere different this year. Zoo Atlanta is open on July 4, with opportunities ranging from sightings of giant otters to water play in the Splash Fountain.
Brand-new to Zoo Atlanta this summer, giant otters are the largest of the otter species, with males growing to lengths of as much as 6.2 feet and weights of up to 70 pounds. Native to freshwater rivers, lakes and creeks east of the Andes Mountains in Venezuela, Colombia and northern Argentina, the animals are also referred to as “river wolves” for their roles as some of their ecosystem’s most tenacious top predators. Look for male Bakairi and female Yzma on exhibit during the first half of the day; their smaller cousins the Asian small-clawed otters may be on exhibit later in the afternoon.
Opened in July 2013 and presented by the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority, the Splash Fountain offers Bakairi and Yzma’s human guests plenty of water recreation of their own. Located on a 2,500 square-foot section of the Zoo’s KIDZone rides and attractions area, the experience features 18 water jets with LED light effects. The activity is free with general admission.
Just a few feet from the Splash Fountain is the Zoo’s newest attraction, the Canopy Climber. The Climber offers kids the chance to make a 20-foot climb to a spiral slide down, with a rock-climbing wall located on the opposite side.
Visitors won’t have to look far for their favorite Fourth of July fare. In honor of the holiday, Zoo chefs will fire up the Grand Patio grill for hamburgers, hot dogs and veggie burgers. Cool treats include Bruster’s Real Ice Cream, Dippin’ Dots, soft-serve ice cream and more.
Warm July days also present the perfect opportunity to enjoy the diverse collection of animals calling the Zoo’s air-conditioned World of Reptiles home, particularly this Independence Day. Baseball fans are encouraged to come see one of America’s real diamondbacks on their way to watch their namesakes take on the Atlanta Braves at Friday’s 7:35 p.m. home game.