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When staff at the Idaho Falls Zoo started working on a new interactive app over a year ago, they couldn’t have foreseen the crucial role the digital platform would play for zoo visitors in 2020.
“We didn’t design the app for a zoo visit during a global pandemic,” says Zoo Director David Pennock, “but it turns out to be the perfect tool at the perfect time. We will provide every zoo guest with a wonderful educational experience even if zoo staff aren’t able to deliver it to them face-to-face.”
One of the COVID-19 precautions the zoo will have in place is to postpone in-person programs until further notice. The programs include zoo classes, tours, birthday and private parties, events, public animal feedings, penguin interactions and keeper talks (Learn more about modifications at the zoo to protect visitors at https://www.idahofallsidaho.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=1441).
So, the Idaho Falls Zoo is providing a new and dynamic way for visitors to interact with the zoo. An interactive zoo app will take you behind the scenes where you’ll get to meet the zoo animals in a fun new way. You can download the app at https://liiingo.app.link/AjjtTbKVF3. The best part? The new app is completely free!
According to Education Curator Sunny Katseanes, “Yes, the app is totally free and it is truly amazing. You will definitely want to download it. It will provide you the opportunity to really get to know some of our animals and will blow your zoo visit out of the water!”
“We are really excited about our new app,” states, Katseanes, “We’ve been working with Liiingo, a digital experience design company out of Boise, on the perfect zoo complement for some time. This app will allow you to explore some of the individual animals at the zoo and learn about them from those who know them best—the zookeepers.”
While the app is free, it’s important to keep in mind that many zoos and aquariums have been hit particularly hard during the global quarantines, including the Idaho Falls Zoo. The new app also gives patrons a way to help the zoo through difficult times by allowing them to provide a donation if they choose. “As you’re using and enjoying the app, you’ll find options to safely and securely donate to the zoo,” states Pennock, “We hope our patrons will show us some love and be generous. Even small donations add up to big help for the zoo and allow us to keep the app active.”
The app features the stories of several of the zoo’s favorite animals including Sid, the Mueller’s grey gibbon; Hondo, the African lion raised by a dog for a time, and much more. This year, zoo visitors will also meet some new zoo additions including two fennec foxes that now call Idaho Falls Zoo home. Fennec foxes are quite small, about the size of a chihuahua, and are native to northern Africa. The Idaho Falls zoo has a male and female, Rango and Bashte.
Another very exciting addition this season is the birth of two new sloth bear cubs. These adorable little girls were born on Dec. 5, 2019 and will be in the outdoor sloth bear exhibit in the northwest corner of the zoo, weather depending. When the weather is poor, they will be inside their den off-exhibit for their health and well being. Please remember to respect social distancing guidelines while at all exhibit viewing areas.
Due to the ever-evolving nature of rules and requirements during COVID-19, things are subject to change at a moment’s notice. The very best ways to stay informed about the latest information is to follow Idaho Falls Zoo on Facebook, Instagram, and the zoo website at www.idahofallszoo.org. You should also subscribe to zoo notices under Notify Me on the City’s website, www.idahofallsidaho.gov.
We hope to see you at the zoo! Your Idaho Falls Zoo will be open daily beginning May 16!
Media Note: For more information or to schedule an interview with zoo staff, contact City of Idaho Falls Public Information Officer, Bud Cranor at 208-612-8306.
About Idaho Falls Zoo at Tautphaus Park: With more than 330 individual animals representing 130 species from all around the globe, the Idaho Falls Zoo is known as the “Best Little Zoo in the West.” Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the zoo participates in 44 Species Survival Plans. Learn more on our website.