The wait is almost over! With two weeks and two days to go before the May 5 grand opening of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's African Elephant Crossing, preparations for the BIGGEST party of the summer are in full swing.
The Zoo is planning four days of festivities to properly mark this milestone in its history. At five acres and $25 million, African Elephant Crossing is the largest capital project since The RainForest opened in 1992.
Excitement at the Zoo reached its "height" earlier this month when African elephant bull Willy arrived. At 11-feet tall at the shoulder and almost 13,000 pounds, Willy is the largest animal to ever be on exhibit at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
"Our guests are really in for a special treat," said Zoo Director Steve Taylor. "Willy is an amazing creature to behold -- a truly fantastic ambassador for his wild-born counterparts."
Willy joins the Zoo's female elephant foursome, Martika, Moshi, Jo and newcomer Shenga, along with meerkats, a colony of naked mole rats, an African rock python, an aviary full of native birds, and an interactive visitor center where kids and grown-ups can learn more about the daily care the elephants receive.
The party begins at 10 a.m. Thursday, May 5 with the James Ford Rhodes High School marching band and continues through Sunday, May 8 when all moms get in to the Zoo for FREE. Scheduled over the four days will be "The Cellephants," African drummers, Radio Disney, Beachwood Community Theater, crafts, music, Meet the Keepers and more. You can even see the VIP ribbon-cutting ceremony live via webcast before the Zoo opens. The webcast starts at 8 a.m. Thursday morning and goes live at 9 a.m. Just visit africanelephantcrossing.com and log on!
Trust us, this weekend is too big to miss, just like the guests of honor!
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with hours extended to 7 p.m. on weekends and holidays from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Admission is $11 per person, $8 for kids ages 2 to 11 and free for children younger than 2 and Zoo members.
To learn more, visit clemetzoo.com or call (216) 661-6500.