Farm Babies Return To Minnesota Zoo

A popular spring event at the Minnesota Zoo is back this year (4:44) WCCO 4 Saturday Morning - April 3, 2021

Video Transcript

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JENNIFER MAYERLE: A popular spring event at the Minnesota Zoo is back this year, and Zach Nugent joins us this morning. Thanks for being with us live.

ZACH NUGENT: Good morning. Thanks for having me.

JENNIFER MAYERLE: Yeah, we're so glad you're here to talk about Farm Babies. This always gets people excited.

ZACH NUGENT: It does, and this is really an exciting year for us. Last year, if you remember, the zoo was temporarily-- temporarily closed around this time. So we are back open, and for Farm Babies, we are doing a bit of a hybrid event. So we have both virtual offerings, which are going on right now, and then we'll open the Wells Fargo Family Farm to the public starting this Friday, April 9th.

JENNIFER MAYERLE: OK, who can we see? What kind of farm babies will we get to see out there?

ZACH NUGENT: Yeah, great question. So right now, we have our goats behind us, which is always a favorite of our guests. And for our virtual offerings on our website, we do have a live goat and sheep barn cam. So 24 hours a day you can check in on the baby goat kids and the baby lambs, which are in the barn right behind us.

We also have our piglets. We have two calves, one that was just born last night. In the coming days, we are expecting to baby llamas to join us as well. So really it's going to be a full Farm Baby's offering. Right now, you can get a taste of it online on our website with that live cam, and some video, and some games. And then, starting next Friday, you can really celebrate these baby farm-- these farm babies in person.

JENNIFER MAYERLE: I love that. I know people get so excited about it. So how did this kind of longtime tradition begin to-- to have the farm babies there at the zoo?

ZACH NUGENT: Yeah, so our family farm has been part of the zoo for about 20 years. This was built right around 2000. And Farm Babies has been a tradition ever since. And it really is just that springtime event that so many people look forward to. And when you think spring time on the farm, you think of baby animals.

And so when we're able to connect with those goat kids, and lambs, and piglets, it really does help foster that interest in animals, in conservation, and in what goes on here at the zoo. And one thing with Farm Babies that we do want to draw attention to is we're calling them the forgotten farm babies, which are pollinators, so bees and butterflies, and really the importance of them to food systems, to ecosystems, and to a working farm.

JENNIFER MAYERLE: Oh, interesting. So there's even more for people to learn out there and to expand on, kind of, just some of those cute animals that we're seeing. You also have a Farm Babies naming contest this year. Can you tell us a little bit about how that works?

ZACH NUGENT: We do. So, all on our website, we have a lot of this great content to really celebrate this virtual event. And part of that is baby naming contest. So once a week, we are going to ask for the public's help in naming some of our animals, so our goat kids and our lambs. We also have some different opportunities for keeper talk, so you can actually learn about these animals and hear from the keepers who care for them day in, day out.

We have some additional video, some photos, so really just a lot of great fun opportunities to get engaged from anywhere you are, so just from your computer, or phone, you can come to the farm and really just celebrate that springtime Farm Babies tradition.

JENNIFER MAYERLE: Definitely, a lot of ways to get involved. And very briefly, can you tell us about the Adult Night Out later this month?

ZACH NUGENT: Yeah, so that is an exciting one. This is going to be our first Adult Night Out in quite some while. So all that information can be found on our website MNZoo.org. But our Adult Night Out-- it's 18 plus, it is after hours here at the Family Farm. And so, really, it's going to be a great event.

We have our vet who is going to be on hand, who will be able to give some talks about what it takes to care for these animals. We are doing a special Feces Fling, where you can help us clean up some of the cow pies. And really it's just going to be a fun event. We've got some fire pits and really a great opportunity for a non-traditional zoo visit without some of the kids around.

So that's going to be a great fun one, but Adult Night Out, just like regular zoo visits-- plan ahead, reservations in advance on our website MNZoo.org.

JENNIFER MAYERLE: Good advice, with that Feces Fling, ah, you got me, that's-- that's-- I'm signing up. All right, thanks, Zach.

ZACH NUGENT: It's a unique one, that's for sure.

JENNIFER MAYERLE: Yes, definitely, after hours. All right, Farm Babies at the Minnesota Zoo is going on now through May 16th. It's virtual only this weekend, and then this Friday, April 9th, people can see the animals in person at the Zoo. Tickets are about $20 for adults, age 13 and up. Kids and seniors are discounted, and members get in for free. Visit our website, WCCO.com/links for more information.