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Safari Africa

Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, FL, has expanded its Safari Africa habitat area with a collection of new exhibits named after the Ituri Forest, a dense tropical rain forest in the northern part of the Congo River Basin. The new area adds 1.5 acres of animal exhibit space and several new African species for visitor viewing including cheetah, okapi, pygmy hippo, red river hogs and shoebill storks. 

Also new, the zoo has welcomed a colony of African penguins to a spacious new outdoor exhibit now under construction near the entrance to Safari Africa. 

In addition, the zoo has recently re-opened its Asian habitat area -- now called Asian Gardens -- after nine months of renovation. Asian Gardens is a lush forest with exotic animals, waterfalls, palm trees, bamboo, tropical plants and a new free-flight aviary themed around the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.

For more information check out www.lowryparkzoo.com

Ocean Predators

Ripley's Aquarium, 1110 Celebrity Circle, Myrtle Beach, SC, has opened a new exhibit entitled,  Pirates - Predators of the Sea! Travelers will enjoy viewing marine life, live animals and interactive, informative displays about pirates.

For example, the exhibit shows visitors what the daily life of a pirate was really like, Hollywood aside. It will also delve into pirate history along the Carolina coastline. Call 800-734-8888 or visit www.ripleysaquarium.com.

$25 Million Expansion

Louisville Zoo is in the midst of a $25 million fund-raising effort to support new exhibits opening during the next five years. This year the zoo has opened the new “Glacier Run Splash Park.” A “Siberian Tiger Encounter” will open in 2008.

A 4.3-acre outdoor “Glacier Run” exhibit is slated for a 2009 opening. Also, “Glacier Sanctuary” will open in 2010 with arctic foxes, snowy owls and reindeer. Call 502-459-2181 or visit www.louisvillezoo.org

Vultures Anyone?

Do you know vultures? One can never miss those ghastly creatures when you're driving and they're out on the concrete looking for road kill. But now the Brevard Zoo, located within Florida's Space Coast in Melbourne, FL, brings them up close. 

A new exhibit in the zoo's La Selva loop features King, Black and Turkey vultures. Visitors enjoy interactive displays and daily animal demonstrations. Call 321-254-9453 or visit www.brevardzoo.org



Aquariums & Zoos
Egyptian Decor and Animals Galore

You don't have to sail up the Nile to get a taste of Egyptian architecture and style. Just head for the Memphis Zoo in Memphis, TN. Memphis was a great Egyptian city in ancient times. The design of the zoo reflects the grandeur of the past.

One star attraction at this zoo? The zoo displays several Giant Pandas from China. Overall, the zoo boasts animal-friendly and people-friendly exhibits.

At times, it's a breathtaking visual experience as fences or barriers seem transparent. That creates some interesting moments when viewing lions, for example.

Throughout the zoo, the Egyptian theming works to take people out of their normal element. It's exotic and fun. Our Memphis freelance writer Holli Haynie adeptly explains what's to see at the zoo, what's new for 2007 and how to visit.

So let's head for the animal life...
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PHOTOLOGUE: New Orleans' Audubon Zoo

If you love photos of animals, check out this Photologue we've prepared of shots from the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. From elephants to bears, from an alligator to birds, you'll find shots of the zoo's diverse group of residents here. So come along for an armchair zoo visit.
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Georgia Aquarium is a Humongous Water World

The eye-popping Georgia Aquarium is the world's largest aquarium. One tank alone holds more than six million gallons of water -- designed for whale sharks, the world's largest fish. The aquarium has three whale sharks on display.

But with 100,000 marine creatures, visitors will have much more to view than just the big bruisers. New features and facilities are planned for this year and beyond.

Opened in 2005, the aquarium is wildly popular. To control access, a timed reservations system is helping assure a smooth visit for travelers and locals.

Professional travel writer Vivian Holley of Roswell, GA, looks at what visitors will encounter at the aquarium, gives tips on where to dine, and outlines hotel packages that feature aquarium tickets. So read on...
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Rocco the Red Panda Arrives at the Jackson Zoo
Head for Mississippi's Jackson Zoo to see the latest furry addition -- Rocco the Red Panda. The endangered cutie recently arrived from a Nebraska zoo. He's now sharing a spacious enclosure with another Red Panda.

Most active at dusk and dawn, Rocco is already a crowd pleaser. He enjoys chowing down on bamboo shoots and leaves, nuts and fruit. For more on Rocco, Red Pandas and other zoo happenings, read on...
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