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The Party for the Planet event at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo celebrated Earth Day.

Zoo event celebrates Earth Day

Photos by Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Hidi Gaff won the Radio Disney dance contest while holding her daughter Ember, 3, at the zoo Saturday. Visitors could try arts and crafts or participate in a scavenger hunt as part of the Party for the Planet.

– Carl Richeson cast his line for trout outside the entrance of the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo.

If he snagged a trophy fish, forgive the 53-year-old if didn’t think of making it a gift to the zoo’s aquarium.

“Nope, he’ll get deep-fried,” said Richeson, a machine operator who fished at Shoaff Lake. “I haven’t been to the zoo since my children were little.”

The Fort Wayne resident was in the minority Saturday as nearly 4,000 visitors took advantage of the sunny skies during the zoo’s Party for the Planet event, which drew attention to conservation efforts.

Zoo Manager Kathy Terlizzi said Saturday was probably the busiest day of the year.

“Sunshine and warm weather,” she said.

During Saturday’s event, six interactive stations were set up throughout the zoo to showcase being kind to the planet.

“Reduce, reuse and recycle,” Terlizzi said. “That’s what they say. This is part of our Earth Day celebration.”

Earth Day was officially observed Monday.

On Saturday, city residents Andrew and Christina Miller visited the animal park to give their two sons a chance to view wildlife – although one might have enjoyed the experience a little more.

“One is 2 years old, so this is the first year where he’ll actually know what’s going on,” Christina Miller said. “Our youngest will have to wait one more year.”

At the environmental stations, patrons could get free reusable shopping bags, take part in earth trivia and solve riddles, as well as learn how to save money through conservation.

“This was just a great day for it,” Terlizzi said. “It’s the first really nice day we’ve had.”

Last year, more than half a million people visited the Fort Wayne’s Children’s Zoo.

Richeson, meantime, isn’t ruling out a visit.

“Haven’t been in a while,” he said, “but it’s fun for the kids.”

pwyche@jg.net

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