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Learning Adventures at the African Savanna
Today, about 415,000 elephants roam across Africa, according to the World Wildlife Fund. That number was as many as 10 million in 1930. Habitat loss and fragmentation and poaching are the key drivers behind the overwhelming decline. Avoiding extinction is going to take courage, commitment and time. That’s why Zoo Atlanta’s new African Savanna is important: it gives kids a chance to be awed and inspired to learn about elephants – the largest land animal on the planet – and many other creatures who share their habitat, such as zebras, giraffes, ostriches and warthogs.
The African Savanna is now home to female elephants Kelly and Tara, Zoo Atlanta residents since 1986, and new arrival Msholo, a male from San Diego Zoo Safari Park. When we visited, one of the children in our group gasped – she was only a few feet away from an elephant! She said, “I feel love when I look at her!” The boys agreed that the space – triple the size of the Zoo’s former elephant area – looks like what they imagine when they think of elephants in the wild. A wide walkway curves past a pond and two waterfalls; there are multiple spots to enjoy different views.
Misting fans and benches make for a comfortable stroll. There is also a new indoor Zambezi Elephant Center, where you can get a behind-the-scenes look at elephant care and learn from interactive signs. A large wire elephant sculpture outside the center has fun lift-up signs – a hit with our kiddos. Further along, we saw the giraffes hanging out in the sun and the warthogs busily rolling in mud.
The African Savanna exhibit holds many surprises. Discover it with your family soon, and use your visit as an opportunity to learn how you can help elephants – and all animals – survive and thrive.
Sherry V. Crawley
Whether you’re looking for behind-the-scenes Wild Encounters, a leisurely stroll through The Ford African Rain Forest or a Scaly Slimy Spectacular experience, Zoo Atlanta offers something for everyone. So what are you waiting for? Bring yourself and your herd to Zoo Atlanta today.