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Published: Friday, 5/24/2013

Wild Walkabout exhibit debuts at Toledo Zoo

BY TANYA IRWIN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
A wallaby hops around its habitat at the Toledo Zoo's Wallaby Walkthru in Toledo, Ohio. A wallaby hops around its habitat at the Toledo Zoo's Wallaby Walkthru in Toledo, Ohio.
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Crowds of people are flocking to the Toledo Zoo today to see more than 50 species of Australian animals, including a huge saltwater crocodile, that are part of the Wild Walkabout exhibit.

The opening weekend kicked off at 10 a.m. with speeches from Zoo Executive Director and CEO Jeff Sailer, Lucas County Commissioners Tina Skeldon-Wozniak and Pete Gerken, Zoo Board of Directors President Mary Ellen Pisanelli, and retired Australian diplomat Lindsay Smith. Local performance art group E:NFP ended the ceremony with an Australian-themed performance.

Mr. Sailer cut the ceremonial opening day ribbon with a giant pair of crocodile-shaped scissors -- the blades were in the shape of a crocodile's jaws. 

There was a steady line to see the Wallabies and Baru, the 17-foot, 50-year-old saltwater crocodile, who traveled 30 hours from his native Australia. Block Communications Inc. helped fund Baru's journey and his new exhibit space within the Reptile House. 

Baru seemed to be handling all the attention, staying under water but in the front of the 17,000-gallon pool so that visitors had a good view.

“He’s not showing any signs of stress so far,” said Val Hornyak, a lead keeper in the zoo's herpetology department. "He's really taking it all in stride."

 Baru, a salt water crocodile, rests in his new habitat at the Toledo Zoo. Baru, a salt water crocodile, rests in his new habitat at the Toledo Zoo.
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The Aviary was busy with visitors checking out the new double-wattled cassowaries and the two birds of paradise -- both the lesser and superb varieties. Besides Baru, featured reptiles include a death adder, coastal taipan and green tree python.

Opening weekend activities include music, entertainment, keeper talks, and educational activities. 

Saturday:

• 10 a.m., 11 a.m. & 12 p.m. TSA Glass City Steel, along with performance puppets (Blade Plaza)

• 10:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Toledo Zoo Australian-themed Educational Activities (Skeldon Plaza)

• 11 a.m. Sounds of the Didgeridu by David Leavitt (across from Carnivore Café)

• 11:30 a.m. Australian-themed performance by E:NFP

• 12 – 2 p.m. Hands-on art activities with The Toledo Museum of Art (Skeldon Plaza)

• 12 – 2 p.m. Face painting with TSA (Skeldon Plaza)

• 12 p.m. Live Animal Show (Fisher-Price Little People Discovery Stage, Nature’s Neighborhood)

• 12:30 p.m. Sounds of the Didgeridu by David Leavitt (across from Carnivore Café)

• 1 p.m. Zap Entertainment presents, The Wonderful World of Bubbles (Indoor Theatre, Museum of Science)

• 1:30 p.m. Sounds of the Didgeridu by David Leavitt (across from Carnivore Café)

• 2 p.m. Keeper Tales: Australia (Fisher-Price Little People Discovery Stage, Nature’s Neighborhood)

• 2:30 p.m. Zap Entertainment presents, Magic from the Land Down Under (Indoor Theatre, Museum of Science)

• Throughout the day our Summer Feeds and Animal Demos taking place

Sunday:

• 10 a.m., 11 a.m., & 12p.m. TSA Glass City Steel, along with performance puppets (Blade Plaza)

• 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Toledo Zoo Australian-themed Educational Activities (Skeldon Plaza)

• 11 a.m. Sounds of the Didgeridu by David Leavitt (across from Carnivore Café)

• 11:30 a.m. Australian-themed performance by E:NFP

• 12 – 2 p.m. Hands-on art activities with The Toledo Museum of Art (Skeldon Plaza)

• 12 – 2 p.m. Face painting with Toledo School for the Arts (Skeldon Plaza)

• 12 p.m. Live Animal Show (Fisher-Price Little People Discovery Stage, Nature’s Neighborhood)

• 12:30 p.m. Sounds of the Didgeridu by David Leavitt (across from Carnivore Café)

• 1 p.m. Zap Entertainment presents, The Wonderful World of Bubbles (Indoor Theatre, Museum of Science)

• 1:30 p.m. Sounds of the Didgeridu by David Leavitt (across from Carnivore Café)

• 2 p.m. Keeper Tales: Australia (Fisher-Price Little People Discovery Stage, Nature’s Neighborhood)

• 2:30 p.m. Zap Entertainment presents, Magic from the Land Down Under (Main Plaza)

 



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