Come opening weekend at the Detroit Zoo the plants, lizards, frogs and other various flora and fauna will not be the only things that hop aboard the green bandwagon. Since the April 20-21 opening weekend also includes Earth Day, the zoo will celebrate the event with activities aimed at teaching people about environmentalism.
The event, called GreenFest, offers a plethora of activities that will help celebrate the occasion. Events like earth-friendly craft projects, an endangered species scavenger hunt and an off-Broadway play about recycling at 11:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. at the events pavilion, relate directly to the theme. Other events more loosely tied to the theme include family yoga classes, animal enrichment and, weather permitting, a 30-foot rock climbing wall.
The Detroit Zoological Society Green Team conservation group will host a Green Games Gallery. This event will include games with recycled material, storytelling and educational displays. In keeping with the motto of education, they will also have hands on experiments by the University of Detroit Chemistry Club. You can also check out the composting demonstrations by the Southeastern Oakland County Water Authority and other exhibits by local conservation groups. All these activities come along with the price of admission.
For those afflicted with the collecting bug, a “Save Vanishing Species” semi-postal stamp is available for sale throughout the weekend with a stamp-cancellation ceremony on Saturday. The proceeds from stamp purchases will go to the Wildlife Without Borders Multinational Conservation Funds administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service.
Just like a blockbuster, this event has a tie-in. Anyone who turns in a used cell phone at a Noodles and Company restaurant to benefit the Detroit Zoo will receive a free appetizer and a voucher for one complimentary admission to the zoo’s 4-D Theater or Simulator Ride at the Wild Adventure Zone during GreenFest. Participating Noodles and Company restaurants are in Livonia, Northville, Rochester, Royal Oak and two locations in Troy. Cell Phones will be collected at the event.
The zoo is offering a discount for the weekend. Just go to the website and take the Green Zoo survey and you’ll get a reduced rate, not including the $8 parking fee. Members of the Detroit Zoological Society, of course, will get in free, but are still encouraged to take part in the survey.
While you’re there also check out Homer, the zoo’s 20-year-old Hoffmann’s two-toed sloth. He’s the April animal attraction. You’ll have to look closely. Homer spends much of his time napping in his tree. If you’re around when he’s eating you’re in for a treat. He’s a picky eater. He sorts through his food bowl and tosses unwanted items onto the floor. His neighbor Charo, a Central American agouti, will happily snack on his leftovers. You can see them at the rainforest-like Immersion Gallery at the National Amphibian Conservation Center.
GreenFest is supported by DTE Energy, Ford, Home Depot, IKEA, Noodles & Company, United Healthcare Community Plan and Whole Foods Market.