Niabi Zoo Opens

April  07, 2014

      Instead of lions, tigers, and bears, how about red wolves, snow leopards, and monkeys?

      Today is opening day at the Niabi Zoo in Coal Valley. From now until the end of October, visitors can see their favorite animals, as well as the zoo's latest additions to its family. 

      Director Marc Heinzman says visitors can now see a female Black and white Colobus monkey that was born in December. Plus, a female snow leopard from New Mexico. Also new is a male red wolf from California, that he hopes will breed with Ruby, the zoo's female red wolf.  Also this year, Heinzman says the zoo will hold public feeding demonstrations in the reptile house.

      "People have very strong feelings about snakes--one way or the other--and we want people to have a chance to learn more about them, aside from seeing them just sitting still in their exhibit, which is often the case. So we're coming up with ways to engage with our audience a little more so they can see our snakes in action and learn more about their lives."

      He says a decision has not yet been made on what to do with the former elephant enclosure. Last October, the elephants, Babe and Sophie, were transferred to the zoo in Little Rock, Arkansas. 

      The Niabi Zoo is now open seven days a week and admission will be free until April 18th.