The Special Memories Zoo in Greenville has lots of animals that kids love, from lions and tigers to a camels and zebra. The petting zoo is a huge hit.
But one incoming star attraction is both a rarity and a sizable investment for the modestly sized 5-acre zoo at W7013 Spring Road in Greenville.
It’s a baby giraffe, a male, expected to arrive around the end of the month. He was born June 28 in a Virginia zoo.
“Normally kids see the great big giraffes. It’s rare to see a baby, especially in our area,” said Dona Wheeler, owner of the 13-year-old zoo with husband Gene. “We are going to have a naming contest. The winner will get a family pass good for 2014.”
The cost of the giraffe, plus the special building and enclosure for him, will top $100,000 with the baby accounting more than half of that.
“It’s the most expensive baby we’ve had to date,” she said.
The zoo has seen attendance rise over of the past four years because families have taken fewer big ticket trips. “People are staying in the area because it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg,” she said. (Adult admission is $8 and children’s prices are reduced on a sliding scale.)
The new guy, she said, will certainly draw more visitors.
FYI: Giraffe babies are 200 pounds and 6-feet tall at birth, she said, and grow to 23 feet at adults.
More info: www.specialmemorieszoo.info or the zoo’s Facebook page, where Wheeler posted a photo of the new baby and his twin.
— Maureen Wallenfang: 920-993-1000, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org; on Twitter @wallenfang