Missouri Park

Animal adaptations for winter weather

Winter in the Ozarks is a serious matter. Not only can it come on quickly, it often lasts for months and comes with plenty of intense cold, snow and icy conditions. For us this can simply mean dressing warmer and cranking up the heat, but have you ever thought about how animals handle the winter?

 

As uncomfortable as the cold can be, animals are very good at learning how to adapt and survive. Today we are going to look at some of the many adaptations animals have for coping with the cold.

 

Season specific adaptations: One of the ways animals endure the cold weather is by adding on fat to act as an insulation. This not only keeps them warmer, it can provide extra calories when food is harder to get. Bears are a great example of this, packing on extra pounds before the winter sets in to help them make it through to spring. Additionally, some animals actually change their coats to become more white in preparation for the snow. This makes it hard for predators to see them in the snow. Hare and weasels are common examples of this, but there are other animals that also turn white for winter.

 

Migration: If you can’t handle the cold, leave it! Migration simply refers to seasonal moving from one area to the other, often in search of less harsh weather and more access to food supplies. When the season changes, they move back and repeat the pattern yearly. This lets them escape the harsh weather and limited food that comes with winter. Many animals, including birds, wildebeests, whales and even some insects!

Hibernating: Hibernation refers to the process in which an animal’s metabolism slows down. This reduces their need for calories, allowing them to survive the winter with limited food and water. This not only protects them when food supplies are low, it means they don’t have to risk harm or expend energy searching for food. There are actually different types of hibernation, and it is important to understand that hibernating is different than just sleeping. Before they hibernate, animals will gain weight, and find a safe place that won’t leave them vulnerable.

Of course, not every animal undergoes a dramatic change for the winter. Some simply prepare by creating caches of food to help them wait out the winter. This protects them from food scarcity, and limits the need to be out in the cold. Beavers and squirrels do this, and it’s an effective tactic. Other animals have simply evolved to be well-suited to survive harsh environments, such as the arctic wolf.

No matter how they do it though, it is pretty amazing that animals can thrive in the winter without the ability to light up a fire or bundle up!

The Interesting World of Reptiles

 

There is no doubt about it, reptiles are amazing fellows, but they are also really misunderstood. Many people may even consider reptiles scary, without realizing that lizards and tortoises are actually reptiles! Even though there are a lot of myths, and a little fear about these guys, they are still popular among guests to the park.  So today we are going to take a few minutes to talk about reptiles to learn what they are, what they aren’t and why there is no reason to fear these amazing animals!

What is a reptile?

Reptiles are vertebrates, meaning they have a backbone, and most of them are cold-blooded and have scaly, dry skin. Most lay eggs, but not all. Some of the most common reptiles are snakes, turtles and lizards. Unlike amphibians, which have gills, reptiles have lungs. Many people are surprised to find out that turtles are reptiles, because there is a common perception that snakes and lizards are the only reptiles there are. Turtles are also quite visually different from snakes, and even people who are fearful of snakes like turtles. But all of these creatures are reptiles.

 

Let’s take a closer look at some of these reptiles to understand them better.

 

Snakes

There are over 3,000 species of snake and they can be found just about everywhere, except Antarctica, Iceland, Ireland, Greenland, and New Zealand. They come in all sizes and have a striking array of colors and patterns, going from plain to ornate and colorful. Some snakes are venomous, about 600 types worldwide, while most are not. Those that are not venomous may hunt for eggs, small rodents and insects to eat, and some may use constriction to kill their prey. Snakes live in all types of environments, making their homes in rain forests, plains, mountains and just about everywhere in between.

 

Lizards

 

These critters come in all shapes and sizes and are literally found all over the world. In fact, there are over 4,500 different species of lizards, making them one of the most diverse types of reptiles. Within those different species there is a lot of diversity as well. For example, some lizards give birth to live young, while others lay eggs. Some lizards have no legs, while some have four. You’ll find lizards in all types of climates, terrains and environments. Many people even have lizards as pets.

 

Turtles


Turtles, which includes tortoises ,are reptiles that may live on the land or in the water. Turtles reside on the land, and tortoises live largely in the water. There are around 356 species  living around the world, and they are found everywhere except Antarctica. You can find them in fresh and saltwater. Even though there are fewer variations, there is still a large degree of differences among turtles. Some are quite small, while some species of sea turtles can reach around 1,500 pounds.

 

As you can tell, reptiles are diverse and interesting critters. The next time you visit, pay a little extra time to look at the reptiles up close and we’re sure you’ll also see that there is nothing to be feared, only admired!

Read to meet some reptiles in person? Plan your trip today!

Wild Animal Safari- Fall Festival!

Wild Animal Safari- Strafford, MO, Wild Animal Safari- Pine Mountain, GA, and Aggieland Safari in Bryan, TX, had their annual Fall Festivals this last weekend! The turnout was fantastic, with families visiting the park for the multiple seasonal activities and the animals, of course!

 

Wild Animal Safari- Strafford,

had some great activities for everyone who visited the park. They offered corn hole, pumpkin decorating, face painting, a pumpkin slingshot, and even a bounce house for kids who came to the park! To top it off they had free candy for everyone and fall treats that were available for purchase. They also hosted a “Cat Attack”, where their white tiger Draco, destroyed a giant paper mache Frankenstein! Including the Fall Festival, this was also Wild Animal Safari- Strafford’s first year hosting a corn maze and pumpkin patch. The corn maze was made so that from above you could see a perfect tiger face in the center of the maze!

 

 

 

Wild Animal Safari- Pine Mountain,

also had some great experiences and activities for everyone who visited the park. They offered carnival games, pumpkin decorating, face painting, pumpkin bowling, and even a bounce house for kids who came to the park! To top it off they had free candy for everyone and fall treats that were available for purchase. Families and friends got to enjoy Dippin’ Dots, pretzels, popcorn, and cotton candy! They also had live animals like a snake, a hedgehog, and more for everyone to see up close, and even pet. Kids dressed in a Halloween costume were also offered a free cup of animal feed.

 

 

Aggieland Safari- Bryan, Texas,

also had some great experiences and activities for everyone who visited the park. They offered pumpkin bowling, zookeeper chats, free candy and an awesome discount for kids who visited the park! Any kid dressed in a Halloween costume were able to receive a $5 discount on their admission to the park! They also held Zookeeper chats on Halloween weekend which is very special to Aggieland Safari. The Zookeeper chats take place when a keeper at the park chooses a specific animal to speak about, and tells fun facts and all of the information they know about the animal! See some great photos below of Aggieland Safari’s Fall Festival.

 

Day trip planning tips for summer break

Summer break is here and that means school’s out and it’s time for vacation and family outings. While you’re probably eager to make the most of summer break, it can be a little stressful too. After all, it’s hard to plan outings that make everyone happy and works with everyone’s schedule and budget.

The following tips can help make summer trip planning easier no matter how big your family or the ages of your kids. 

  1. First and foremost, consider the ages and the age ranges among the members of your family. If you have all school-aged children, you’ll have a lot easier time finding an outing that appeals to everyone.

    A few all-age family outings to consider includes:

– Outdoor water park

– Amusement parks

– Museums

– Day camps

-Interactive fun centers, such as discovery centers

Animal themed parks

If you have older children, get them involved in the planning process as well. They can offer ideas, look u information on potential destinations and even help you figure out costs. Making planning a family event is a great way to ease your burden and ensure that everyone gets to do something they want.

  1. Next, you’ll want to create a family calendar. This is a central calendar that you can use to plan everything for the summer months. Include work schedules, doctor appointments, visits from family, and anything else you’re obligated to attend. This is the easiest way to get a snapshot of free days and busy days so you can plan trips without conflicts. You might find it easier to give everyone a different color or to categorize events by color so you can glance at your calendar and quickly see who is doing what.
  2. Budgets are especially important when you’re trying to plan an entire summer’s worth of events. Make it easier on yourself by creating monthly entertainment budgets. Each month’s budget will probably be different if you’re planning on participating in summer camps or want to take a few mini-trips. Looking ahead into what you want to do and setting up budgets beforehand can help you even out costs so you can make it all happen. These budgeting tips can help you navigate family budgets so you can stretch your dollars further.
  1. Don’t underestimate the fun that can be had right in your own backyard. You don’t have to go on expensive, long trips to have a memorable summer! Check out local guides online to find fun things to do in and around your town. And then there are day trips, which give you a bit more adventurous but still far less expensive than traditional summer vacations. 

Summer is supposed to be full of fun and relaxation, but sometimes planning everything can take a bit of the joy away. With these tips, you can more easily create some family memories without going crazy or breaking the budget. And of course, if you’re looking for a fun and interesting all-age trip, we’ve got you covered. Visit this link to start planning your trip today.

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10 Pot Belly Pig Facts

Pot Belly Pig
Potbelly pigs are undeniably cute and interesting, but exactly how much do you know about them? Most people have seen them but really don’t know a lot about these interesting guys. There are also plenty of misconceptions about them as well. Today we’re going to talk about some fun facts you’ll want to know 
before you visit and see a potbelly pig face to face!

  1. Potbelly pigs came from Southeast Asia in the ’80s and were imported to the United States as pets. They are still popular pets, even though many people underestimate their full-grown size.
  2. Like all pigs, potbellied pigs have sensitive skin and they will get sunburned just like we do!
  3. Potbellied pigs are smart and are very trainable. They can be taught to do tricks and respond to commands, just like dogs!
  4. They use their noses for more than just smelling. Their snouts are strong and they use them to push things around, forage and root in the dirt.
  5. Potbellied pigs grow much larger than people often realize. A potbellied pig can grow to be between 80 and 180 or so pounds.
  6. Potbellied pigs are friendly and social animals. They enjoy being in the company of other pigs and people. They also get lonely without the stimulation of friends and family.
  7. Their eyesight is pretty bad, but they have a great sense of smell and have exceptional hearing.
  8. Potbellied pigs can get overweight and if this happens it can actually cause “mechanical blindness”. This is where rolls of fat obscure their eyesight, but it can be reversed with diet and exercise.
  9. Potbellied pigs are surprisingly quick and enjoy running. They can also swim in shallow water.
  10. They only sweat a little bit on their nose, and nowhere else. For this reason, they stick to the shade and enjoy cooling off in the mud. Mud also protects their skin, so it’s a win-win!

Many people keep pot-bellied pigs as pets, but it can be difficult to do so because they do need plenty of room, attention and they do better when they live with other potbellies. They also grow much larger than many people think, which unfortunately leads to a lot of potbellies being surrendered to sanctuaries. So while they are friendly, it might be best to simply say hi on your next visit to Wild Animal Safari.

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6 Things you can learn on your visit

Every trip to the park is a new opportunity to learn interesting things about our animal friends. While you never know who you’ll see as you drive or walkthrough, you can count on seeing some amazing animals, from tigers and foxes to a watusi. You’ll also get an opportunity to see some less common animals, like a miniature zebu and Timber Wolf/Arctic Wolf Hybrid.

As you make your way through the park, you’re sure to learn a lot about the animals you see. Here are a few things you might notice, or be surprised about, on your next trip.

Water buffalo are huge!

Water buffalo can weigh over 1,100 pounds and they can be up to 52 inches tall at the withers. You might not realize how big they really are unless you see one up close. Meeting a water buffalo during your visit can give you a new appreciation for their sheer size and power in a way reading statistics cannot.

Animals have personalities

Many people know that their pets are full of personality, but what they might not realize is that all animals have unique personalities as well. Tigers, giraffes, lemurs, horses, and sheep are just a few of the charismatic animals you can see on your visit. Each one has moods and charms completely unique to them. 

Animals can be curious 

Many of our animal friends are as curious about you as you are about them. They will approach you to get a closer look and even smell you. This is how they learn about the world around them and it shows just how inquisitive they can be. Some of our animal friends are notoriously curious, eager to approach vehicles and get a good peek inside! 

Only males are peacocks

That’s right, the colorful birds you know and love, with the gorgeous colors and elaborate feather displays, are males. Females are officially called peahens, and they are far less colorful in comparison. You can refer to either as a peafowl. Those colorful displays by peacocks are intended to impress and attract mates. 

Spider monkeys are acrobats

Spider monkeys live in rainforests, spending a lot of time in the canopy. They forage from the treetops, primarily eating fruits. They have to be quite agile and acrobatic to navigate their way through the forests. They are also social animals, living in large groups up to 30 strong. 

Lions can be loud 

Everyone has heard a lion’s roar on TV or in the movies, but have you heard it in person? While there is no guarantee you will hear it on your visit if you do you might be surprised at how loud it can be! In fact, it can reach up to around 114 decibels and it can be heard up to five miles away!.  If you happen to hear it, you’ll never forget the experience!

Last but not least, you’ll definitely learn that animals are unpredictable! Sometimes they are sleepy and may not be very interested in having visitors. At other times, they are full of energy and highly curious about the people walking or driving by! That’s why it always pays to visit a few times so you can get the full experience, no matter what moods our animal friends may be in!

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Wolves and Wolf Hybrids

There is something about wolves that people find especially fascinating. From their lonely howls that can be heard for miles and miles, to their intriguing pack behavior, wolves are truly captivating animals. Wolves are also mysterious, which is why guests are so eager to catch a glimpse of our wolf friends during their visit.

How much do you know about wolves? Here are some fun facts about the amazing wolf- see how many you know and can remember during your next visit to the park/

– There is actually debate over how many species of wolf exist. However, it is widely recognized that there are two main species, red and gray, along with various subspecies. For instance, scientists debate where there are 4 or over 20 subspecies in North American alone.

– Wolves vary in size by species, with gray wolves weighing up to 175 pounds while timberwolves tend to top out at around 100 pounds. Like many animals, males tend to be denser and weigh more than females.

– Wolves are carnivores and can eat up to 20 pounds of meat in a single meal. They tend to hunt large hoofed mammals, like moose, deer, and elk. By necessity, they also hunt small game like beavers or hares.

– Wolves are complex and intelligent animals, and most hunt in packs and work together to survive. This makes efficient hunters that can bring down large game and survive when food is scarce.

– Arctic wolves can live their entire lives in freezing weather, above the arctic circle. They have small ears to reduce heat loss, increased fat storage, and inner and outer layers of fur to increase warmth. They tend to have huge territories up to 1,000 miles in range.

– Dogs come from domesticated wolves, sharing most of the same genes and many of the same behavioral traits. For this reason, dogs and wolves can actually breed and produce hybrids.

– Wolves tend to fear humans and shy away from areas that people frequent. This includes trails and campsites that have a lingering human scent.

Wolf hybrids

Wolves and dogs are interfertile, so they can breed between species. It also means that their offspring can breed as well. So unlike some species of hybrids, wolf hybrids are typically not infertile. This is because the genetics are so similar, so a large variety of hybrids are possible. For instance, there can be a wolf-dog hybrid or hybrids between various wolf species.

You can actually see wolf-dog hybrids and timberwolves-arctic wolf hybrids during your next visit to the park. Click here to plan your visit today.

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Plan The Ultimate Spring Break Family Outing

Spring break is just around the corner, and that means a lot of families are going to need some fun ideas for outings. Day trips provide a great alternative since long trips and air travel is a bit less accessible these days. Luckily, for those in the tri-state area, there are many fun ways to get away with the family and create a spring break to remember.

By making Wild Animal Safari your destination, you can enjoy all-ages entertainment and take advantage of some fun stops along the way. After all, the trip is half the fun, right? 

Here are a few tips to help you plan the ultimate spring break trip for the entire family.

Make your visit a full-day experience 
There is no need to rush through your time at the park, pack a lunch, and plan to spend the day or treat yourself to a meal at the cafe. You can walk through and get to know the animals in our walk-about. This is an experience you don’t want to miss because there are exotic animals in this area that can’t roam freely in the drive-thru section. Next, take a guided tour through the drive-through so you can sit back and enjoy the sites! 

Experience the park multiple ways

Make sure you plan to view the park in multiple ways to get the full Wild Animal Safari experience! There is a complete walk-about area full of amazing animals, but you’ll also want to experience the freedom of animals roaming in the drive-thru area. If you’re driving into the area for a long spring break weekend, you might want to let us do the driving for you with the guided bus tour. Please note, the bus isn’t always running so you’ll want to check the schedule.

Play games during your visit

If you have school-aged children, you can help them have a more enriching and entertaining time by playing some games. You can play animal bingo or make a passport from a map of the park and mark off every animal you see. Here are some more fun ideas on ways to elevate your children’s experience at the park. 

Enjoy nearby food and entertaining options 

Our park is a short day trip for many people in the tri-state area, so it’s a great place to spend a long weekend or spring break. While you’re here, you can take advantage of other area attractions. There are world-class eateries, museums, and entertainment options a short drive from the park. In fact, Branson, the entertainment capital of the Midwest, is under an hour away!

Travel might be a bit more restricted at the moment, but that doesn’t need to stand in the way of your family’s spring break plans. We have over 450 animals, on 350 acres just waiting to meet you, so buy your tickets, make your plans and pack your bags!

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7 Amazing Things You Didn’t Know About Lemurs

Chances are high that you’ve only seen lemurs on television, in animated movies, or on a trip through our park. Since these beautiful animals are not common, they tend to be fairly mysterious and misunderstood. Today we thought we’d talk about some of the things you probably don’t know about the amazing lemur.

Lemurs are primates that can live up to 18 years in the wild. They can weigh up to 7.5 pounds, depending on the species. They have unusually long tails that are typically longer than their bodies. They are very social animals that live in large groups called troops. Lemurs are herbivores and eat a lot of fruits but also feast on leaves, tree bark, sap, and flowers.

Here are some other interesting lemur facts we bet you didn’t know:

  1. There are hundreds of types of lemurs, 17 of which are currently protected. The ring-tailed lemur is the most well-known. Learn more by visiting the Lemur Conservation Foundation.
  2. Madagascar is one of the largest islands in the world and is a hotspot of biodiversity. Many species, including the lemur, are only found naturally on the island. Of course, lemurs are found in zoos, sanctuaries, and wildlife parks around the world.
  3. Lemur’s social structure is unique in that females are dominant. In fact, females are the leaders of lemur troops.
  4. Lemurs may have substantial tails, but they cannot grip or swing by them as similar primates do.
  5. The ring-tailed lemur spends a lot of time on the ground, which is unusual. Most other species of lemur spend most of their time in the trees.
  6. Lemurs are one of the only mammals, other than humans, which have blue eyes! The Sclater lemur also called the blue-eyed black lemur, is a rare and endangered species, according to the Lemur Conservation Network.
  7. The Indris lemur is a large lemur that is known for its song-like vocalizations. The Indris song is complex and is thought to help mark their territories and communicate other information, like warning the troop of danger. Other lemurs are vocal as well, using wails, howls, purrs, and chirps to talk.

Unfortunately, lemurs are facing an uncertain future due to threats to their environment. For this reason, conservation and education efforts are the focus of attention for the Madagascar people. Learn more about lemur conservation by visiting the Lemur Conservation Network.

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