Sunday July 22, 2018
News Topics

Meet Letterman — a new 3-year-old male southern white rhinoceros comes to the Louisville Zoo from The Wilds in southeast Ohio. The rhino was named by Jack Hanna after the late night television host and comedian David Letterman. Letterman was born on November 12, 2014 at The Wilds.

Letterman has completed his standard 30-day quarantine and will soon join 34-year-old female Sindi in the exhibit. As with any new animal introductions, the rhinos will be monitored. Introductions of unfamiliar rhinos can often result in sparring from both males and females, which is normal behavior. These normal interactions and dynamics in a rhino group can occasionally result in a superficial injury. The rhinos are regularly evaluated by the Zoo’s veterinary staff and any observed injuries are treated under their expert care. Once the rhinos are familiar with each other and their roles are established, they will usually engage in calmer interactions.

White rhinoceros are the largest land mammal after the elephant and the largest species of rhinoceros. Their range is southern Africa. The typical weight of a white rhinoceros is between 4,000 and 6,000 pounds. Adult white rhinos have no natural predators, other than humans, due to their size. White rhinoceros are listed as near threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species due to the continued poaching threat and increasing illegal demand for horns.

With great sadness, The Louisville Zoo said goodbye to near 18-year-old male lion Kenya today.

Kenya had been on what the Zoo calls a quality-of-life watch. Today, Zoo keepers and veterinary staff met to discuss his recent rapid decline and failing health.

Kenya was losing weight; his appetite had decreased and he wasn’t eating well. He was weak and was receiving treatment for thrombocytopenia, a condition characterized by low blood platelets and difficulty clotting.

The decision was made to humanely euthanize Kenya today due to a poor response to treatments and declining quality of life. A necropsy and complete pathologic examination will be performed.

“These decisions are never easy and certainly never made lightly,” said Zoo Veterinarian Dr. Julie Ter Beest. “His condition was worsening and he was getting more uncomfortable.”

The median life expectancy of lions in a managed care system is 16.9 years. In the wild an adult male lion may live 12 years.

Kenya came to the Louisville Zoo in 2005 from Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, Missouri. . Kenya shared the exhibit with 19-year-old female lion Kariba.

Zoo LogoTo honor those who are serving and who have served our country in military service, the Louisville Zoo is offering active and retired military and their dependents FREE general admission on Veterans Day – Saturday, November 11, 2017.

Those wishing to participate must simply have proof of military service (including but not limited to: U.S Uniformed Services ID Card, U.S. Uniformed Services Retired ID Card, current Leave and Earnings Statement (LES), veterans organization card (i.e., American Legion, VFW), DD214 and citation or commendation) and present it at the Zoo’s admission windows.

In addition to free zoo admission, on Nov. 11, 2017, active, retired military and their dependents (with a military identification card) will also receive receive 10% off gift shop purchases and 50% off all food and drink concessions

In recognition of their service and sacrifices, active military personnel receive free admission year-round at the Louisville Zoo. Dependents of active and retired military members receive 10% off admission year-round. Military personnel are encouraged to check with the Leisure Travel offices at their bases in advance of their visit for other available discounts.


Pumpkin Spice Habitat

The bears, orangutans, elephants and many other animals at the Louisville Zoo will be celebrating the end of Halloween with a special pumpkin enrichment!

Saturday, November 4, marks the zoo’s annual Pumpkin Smash event.

The World’s Largest Halloween Party!” presented by Meijer wrapped up last weekend after nearly a month of fun and special events.  Now it is time for the hundreds of pumpkins that decorated the zoo’s grounds for the festivities will be given to the animals for Halloween enrichment.

Animal enrichment is an important part of animal husbandry at the Louisville Zoo and promotes the expression of natural behavior.

This is the perfect opportunity to visit the zoo and see how the animals react to their special seasonal treats.  Zoo hours are from 10 AM to 4 PM, visitors arriving by 4 can stay until 5 PM.

(animals participating and times are subject to change)

10:15 a.m. Orangutans (Islands Dayroom)

10:30 a.m. Sumatran Tiger outdoor (Islands outdoor habitat)

11:15 a.m. Bears (Glacier Run)

11:45 a.m. Gorillas (Gorilla Forest)

12:15 p.m. Amur Tigers (after training)

1:15 p.m. Elephants

Earlier this summer, the Louisville Zoo received a male silverback gorilla (Casey) from the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. This week a second gorilla from Audubon Zoo arrived safely in Louisville. Bandia, a 20-year-old western lowland gorilla, will join Gorilla Forest after a standard quarantine period followed by acclimation time. Both moves were part of a planned collaborative effort across several accredited zoos within the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

Ultimately, the plan is that new silverback Casey will become the patriarch in a family group that includes one-year-old Kindi, surrogate mother Kweli, and female gorillas Paki and Bandia. In conjunction with these changes, the Louisville Zoo’s 29-year-old silverback Mshindi was moved to the Cincinnati Zoo.

“We believe this was the right time for these changes to occur. Creating the strongest and healthiest family group for Kindi is one of our primary priorities,” said Assistant Mammal Curator and Gorilla Forest Supervisor Jill Katka. “With the death of her natural mother Mia Moja last year, the family group of Paki, Kweli and Mshindi had been impacted and the dynamics altered. Our hope is that these new changes will allow Kindi to have a cohesive family group and will help create more viable family groups for the health and stability of all the gorillas involved in these moves coordinated by the AZA’s Species Survival Plan (SSP).”

The SSP serves as a safeguard for animals facing extinction in the wild. This highly coordinated partnership between AZA-accredited zoos is designed to facilitate a healthy and genetically-diverse population of gorillas in managed care. Through analysis of data from conservationists around the world, the experts at AZA determine which species are most at risk in the wild and can be best helped through breeding programs in AZA zoos. A Species Survival Plan is then created for each of these species. By transferring animals as a part of this plan, zoos maintain the diversity of a threatened species’ gene pool and ensure the best chances of healthy offspring so that the species may continue to survive.

Western lowland gorillas are considered critically endangered with an estimated 100,000 left in the remnant wild. There are about 350 residing in 48 AZA-accredited institutions in North America. Due to habitat destruction primarily caused by mining, logging and agricultural expansion, gorilla numbers continue to decline. Coltan mining in particular is impacting the gorilla population. Coltan is a black metallic mineral that is used in nearly every electronic device today including cell phones. The Louisville Zoo partners with Louisville-based organization Eco-Cell to collect old cell phones and help reduce the need for additional mining in and around gorilla habitats. The bushmeat trade and the Ebola virus are also major threats. Our conservation partners include The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International which works to protect and study gorillas and help local communities build their conservation capabilities and PASA (Pan African Sanctuary Alliance) is the largest association of wildlife centers in African helping to secure a future for Africa’s primates and their habitat.

Meijer presents “The World’s Largest Halloween Party!”

October 5–8, 12–15, 19–22, & 26–29, 2017

It’s that time of year when the Louisville Zoo transforms into a storybook land and a photo opportunity is waiting around every corner during the Zoo’s “World’s Largest Halloween Party!” presented by Meijer. This year the Zoo celebrates its 36th year of the popular party on October 5–8, 12–15, 19–22, & 26–29, 2017

Tickets are now on sale.

Children can dress up in their wildest costumes and set off on a magical journey through the Zoo.
The Party features costumed characters for guests to meet and greet in fanciful, larger-than-life storybook scenes. Trick-or-treating is offered for kids 11 and under. In an effort to be “green,” the Zoo requests that children bring their own trick-or-treat bag to the event. The Zoo will not provide bags, but reusable cloth bags will be available for purchase for $2 in the Zoo’s gift shop whiles supplies last.

Louisville pumpkin carving artist Donna O’Bryan will have her beautifully carved artificial pumpkins on display nightly in the Glacier Run Black Cat Crossing area with cutout themes ranging from iconic movie characters to famous stars.

Fun themed areas include:   Continue reading

Mayor Greg Fischer reminded parents today that there are many free or low-cost options for keeping students active and engaged during Spring Break, which starts Friday (March 31) for Jefferson County Public Schools and runs through next week (April 3-7) for JCPS and most private and Catholic schools.

“From Spring Break camps, to family picnics in our parks, to library and recreation center activities like an African Drum and Dance Workshop, there’s no reason for kids to be idle next week,” the Mayor said. “There are lots of options for the kind of experiences that stimulate their brains, get their bodies moving and keep them occupied and engaged.”

JCPS “Literacy &” camps

Families with third- through fifth-graders in Jefferson County Public Schools still have an opportunity to sign their children up for JCPS’ “Literacy &” camps at five locations. The free camps combine reading with character-building activities such as chess, karate, hip-hop, photography and robotics.

Registration is underway, and space is available for up to 30 students at each of the five elementary school locations: Crums Lane, Engelhard, Rangeland, Maupin and Wheatley.  The camps will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 3-7. To register a child, families may call (502) 485-3631.

Metro Parks and Recreation

From Monday to Friday, April 3-7, many Louisville Metro Parks and Recreation community centers are offering Spring Break camps, which generally run 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. There are fees, ranging from $20 to $80 a week, which cover field trips, as well as organized games and activities. Find more details at

In addition, the Parkhill Community Center, 1703 South 13th St., is hosting an African Drum and Dance Workshop from 10 a.m. to noon each day next week. A $30 fee covers the workshop and performance. Call 637-3044 for more information. And the South Louisville Community Center, 2911 Taylor Boulevard, is hosting a free Robby Valentine Spring Break Sports Camp Tuesday and Wednesday, April 4-5, from 1-3 p.m. for ages 8-16. Call 574-3206 for information.

Other Spring Break activities sponsored by the community centers include:

  • Family Night Out Parkhill Community Center, 1703 South Thirteenth Street; 637-3044 Friday, April 7, 6-8 p.m. Free kickball, games and movies.
  • International Movie Night, Beechmont Community Center, 205 West Wellington Avenue; 361-5484. Friday, April 7, 6:30–8:30 p.m. Fee: $5, includes popcorn, cotton candy and snow cones.
  • Fun at the Park, Newburg Park; 456-8122. Wednesday, April 5, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Free activities and cookout; ages 6-18.
  • Skating and Gattiland Field Trip, Newburg Community Center , 4810 Exeter Avenue; 456-8122 For ages 10-18. Runs 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.; $10 fee.
  • Cornhole Tournament and Brunch Newburg Community Center , 4810 Exeter Avenue; 456-8122. Free for all ages; 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Louisville Free Public Library

The library kicks off Spring Break week with its “Super Silly Saturday” on April 1 at the Southwest Regional Library.

Join special guests Elephant and Piggie for an afternoon of fun activities, learning stations, and all kinds of silliness! The event also features special performances by musical guest Jim Gill and StageOne Family Theatre, and each child attending will receive a free book. This program is funded by the Jefferson County Community Early Childhood Council and Junior League of Louisville, and is suggested for preschool-age children and their families.

Here are some other library events for Spring Break week, planned in addition to regular story times at each of the library’s branches:

Saturday, April 01, 2017

  • 10:15 a.m.           STEM Saturday                                                  Iroquois
  • 10:30 a.m.           Lego Build Challenge                                         Jeffersontown
  • 11 a.m.                 Preschool Party: Earth Day!                              Newburg
  • 3:30 p.m.             Super-Silly Saturday!                                         Southwest

Monday, April 03, 2017

  • 2 p.m.                   Milo and Otis                                                     Main Library
  • 2 p.m.                   Everyone Loves Cupcakes Storytime                   Southwest
  • 2 p.m.                   Money as You Grow Book Club                            Western
  • 2 p.m.                   Teddy Bear’s Picnic                                             Jeffersontown
  • 2:30 p.m.             Tween Art Workshop                                            St. Matthews
  • 3 p.m.                   Robotics Throwdown                                           Crescent Hill
  • 6 p.m.                   Family Movie Night                                              Shawnee
  • 6:30 p.m.             Girls’ STEAM Club                                                 Portland

Tuesday, April 04, 217

  • 10 a.m.                 Game Day                                                           Middletown
  • 2 p.m.                   Family Movie Time                                               Main Library
  • 2 p.m.                   Movie: The Princess & the Frog                             Southwest
  • 2 p.m.                   Afternoon Movie: The LEGO Movie                        Jeffersontown
  • 3 p.m.                   Digital Literacy Event                                           Fern Creek
  • 3 p.m.                   Western Writing Workshop                                    Western
  • 3:30 p.m.             Guess Who: Book Edition                                       Shawnee

Wednesday, April 05, 217

  • 12:30 p.m.           Lunch & Learn                                                       Fern Creek
  • 1 p.m.                   Nature Camp/ Jeff Memorial Forest                        Shively
  • 2 p.m.                   Doc McStuffins Dramatic Play                                Southwest
  • 2 p.m.                   Lego Squad                                                         Main Library
  • 2:30 p.m.             Spy Lab                                                               Crescent Hill
  • 3:30 PM                Robotics Throwdown                                             Shawnee
  • 6 p.m.                   Perler Beads: Pokemon-Style                                Southwest

Thursday, April 06, 217

  • 10:15 a.m.           Brightside Kids                                                      Crescent Hill
  • 10:30 a.m.           Puzzle & Lego Day!                                                Middletown
  • 11 a.m.                 Minecraft                                                             Middletown
  • 2 p.m.                   Fun in the Spring Day Sun                                     Main Library
  • 2 p.m.                   Money as You Grow Book Club                              Western
  • 6 p.m.                   Family Fort Night                                                  Southwest
  • 6 p.m.                   Thursday Night Theater: Freaky Friday                   Main Library

Friday, April 07, 217

  • 10:30 a.m.           Friday Dance Party: Silly Dance!                             St. Matthews
  • 11 a.m.                 Brown Bag Storytime                                           Main Library
  • 11 a.m.                 Come Play Yoga                                                  Crescent Hill
  • 1 p.m.                   Brightside Kids                                                    Newburg
  • 2 p.m.                   Stories with Snakes                                             Main Library
  • 2:30 p.m.             Dogs vs. Cats Family Storytime                              Crescent Hill

Saturday, April 08, 217

  • 10 a.m.                 Bunnies, Bunnies, Bunnies Family Storytime           Southwest
  • 10 a.m.                 English Conversation Club                                     Bon Air
  • 10 a.m.                 Preschool Party                                                    Main Library
  • 11 a.m.                 Tell a Story with the Magic Tree House                    Shawnee
  • 1 p.m.                   Lego Lab & Movie                                                 Portland
  • 2 p.m.                   Brightside Kids                                                     Main Library
  • 2 p.m.                   Dia! Celebrate Diversity                                        Okolona

The Louisville Zoo

The Louisville Zoo’s spring break camps are full, but families should keep in mind that the Zoo is a living classroom and a perfect place to keep young minds active, while parents get in a little exercise. The best way to visit for families is a membership, and the Zoo has many different packages, including a dual membership with the Kentucky Science Center. Learn more at