Spring 2023 Wild Magazine

Page 1

April 7 - August 13 April 7 - August 13


Earth Day is in April every year, and every year it seems there are more good ideas put forth to celebrate activities that protect nature and improve our stewardship of natural resources. In fact, the slogan “Earth Day, Every Day” seems to take on a literal meaning when things are going on all month. Your Zoo kicked it off in style with Party for the Planet on April 1, in tandem with Providence Parks and a bunch of community organizations spent the day with us to help show what you and your family can do to keep Rhode Island, and the rest of the world, green.

This month we proudly bring you Dinosaurs Among Us, too! What, you ask? Live dinosaurs? Well, the answer is both yes and no.

Beginning April 7, Roger Williams Park Zoo will display more than 65 lifelike, life-sized, mechanical dinosaurs (and other Mesozoic species) in a special exhibition on our wetlands trail. It is the main event, with a separate ticket, for a whole season of cool and, yes, sometimes nerdy, activity and interpretation in the Zoo and throughout Roger Williams Park tied together by a possibly jaw-dropping theme: not all dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago.

More and more fossil evidence points to a conclusion that a few groups of dinosaurs powered their way through the mass extinction event that occurred at the end of the Cretaceous Period – and they are represented on earth today by about 10,000 species of what we call birds! Feathers, beaks, hollow bones, and other physical features that we consider uniquely avian were present among a wide variety of dinosaurs called theropods, including well-known names like Velociraptor and Tyrannosaurus, not to mention Archaeopteryx.

Parting the mists of prehistoric times, and beginning in April, every Zoo guest will have an opportunity to be amazed by a series of free-flight bird demonstrations throughout the rest of the Zoo. If you have never seen a flock of flying macaws or the lethal skills of a bird of prey, prepare to have your jaw drop!

And that’s just a small sample. In this Wild magazine issue, check out the article about other dino-related programs and activities coming to you in other parts of Roger Williams Park. Movie screenings, bird walks, paleobotany (look it up!), a special planetarium show, and a connection to distant ancestors of the modern horse – even if they’re not really dinosaurs – are just a few of the adventures your family is sure to enjoy.

I still remember my disappointment as a young child when I learned I would never see a live dinosaur. So, how much fun is it to share some of the mystery of prehistoric wildlife alongside the discovery that dinosaurs are still among us? A lot.

A lot of fun, and you will probably learn something, too.

Don’t miss it.


today and every day!

Even though Earth Day may be just one day, we can all take initiatives to better our planet every day.

When is Earth Day?

Earth Day 2023 is Saturday, April 22, with the focus on the need to “invest in our planet.” This can be done through a wide array of efforts, such as planting trees, participating in cleanups, ending plastic consumption, practicing climate literacy and consuming sustainable fashion.

A History of Earth Day…

The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970 after Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin decided he wanted to bring awareness to the dangers of air and water pollution. He was then joined by Congressman Pete McCloskey and activist Denis Hayes, and together they started organizing teach-ins across the United States to further their cause.

Today, Earth Day is one of the largest secular observances in the world with over 1 billion people participating each year.

For us, every day is Earth Day. If you feel the same, here are simple actions and tips to make a difference for our planet and the millions of species we love that also call it home. A sustainable life is a happy life!

• If you’re a homeowner, invest in energy efficient power/ water/heating systems. It will save you $$ and reduce your impact on the environment.

- Learn about different tax opportunities available for sustainable home improvements in the Inflation Reduction Act.

- Switch to LED lightbulbs to reduce the amount of power needed to light your home. P.S. LED lights last 100x longer than traditional light bulbs!

- Install modern low-flow shower heads - saving carbon emissions, energy costs, and up to 15,000 gallons of water per person per year!

• Compost to reduce the carbon impact of food waste; plus, it will give you a free source of soil if you have a garden!

• Plant native species to support biodiversity and encourage visits from our favorite pollinator friends.

• Organize or take part in a local community clean up.

• Encourage the use of reusable utensils, dishes, and trays at home and at your work.

• Practice sustainable fashion by shopping sustainably for your clothes. Check out six local Rhode Island secondhand boutiques that are saving the planet with style 


April 7 - August 13 April 7 - August 13

Travel back 65 million years in this immersive, walk-through experience that transports visitors through a world of prehistoric wonder.

Featuring nearly 60 life-size animatronic dinosaurs, this is one of the largest outdoor dinosaur exhibits of its kind. Walk up to an 18-foot-long Dreadnoughtus, an 8-foot tall Brachiosaurus, other well-known species, including T-rex, Triceratops, Stegosaurus and many more. These huge ancient creatures, and some of their babies, will be stationed along the Zoo’s wetlands trail.

The animatronic dinosaurs feature life-like movements and intimidating roars; many are being seen for the first time anywhere. The Zoo team researched and provided specifications for the dinosaurs to look as “real” as possible. With moving heads, eyes, arms, and mouths, this interactive experience will make guests feel like these extinct animals were brought back to life.

Families and children can also experience walking dinosaur rides, dinosaur-themed selfie stations, meet and greets with baby dinosaurs, and hands-on fossil dig stations.

A separate ticket is required for the Dinosaurs

Among Us exhibit, it is not included with Zoo admission and can be purchased online.


Birds are Dinosaurs Among Us

APRIL 14 - SEPT. 4

Birds, the only direct descendants of dinosaurs, take flight at the Zoo this year as they display their natural behaviors and abilities during daily shows. Guests can get an up-close look at falcons, macaws, cranes, owls and more as they fly, call and mimic their interpreter —along with some surprise encounters that make this a don’t miss treat (weather dependent)

Special Dinosaur Events

Dinos at Dusk Family Nights – the second Saturday of each month May-August

Families can journey back in time and enjoy an evening at the Zoo from 5-9 pm.

Sip & Stroll with Food Trucks and Dinos (21+) May 17

Enjoy sweet and savory food trucks located around the Zoo, live musical entertainment and animal encounters and of course dinosaurs. This event is included with Zoo admission. Food and drinks will be available for purchase.

Sensory Days - Saturday, April 29, Saturday, May 20, Saturday, June 17 and Saturday, July 8.

Special sensory-friendly mornings an hour before the trail opens to the public: designed for those with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and sensory processing differences and their families from 8-9 am. (Zoo will open at 9 am)

Ticketed events must be purchased online for all events at www.rwpzoo.org/events.

Dinosaurs Are Among Us Throughout Roger Williams Park

Schedule your visit to discover dinosaurs in Roger Williams Park (RWP) with walks, talks, activities, and dino-mite fun for everyone.

Highlights include Dinosaur Egg Hunt at the RWP Gateway Center, Fairy Garden Days at the RWP Botanical Center, new exhibit and planetarium show at the Museum of Natural History, prehistoric horse talk at PPD Mounted Command, movies with the RWP Conservancy, and more!

Looking for a calendar of events?

Stop by the RWP Gateway Center located at 1198 Broad Street daily from 10am-7pm and visit www.providenceri.gov/parks/rwp-gateway/ for more information about happenings throughout the park.

Providence Parks Department (Gateway Center, Museum of Natural History and Planetarium, and Botanical Center), LaGondola Boating, Providence Police Department Mounted Command, RWP Conservancy, One Providence Tennis


Answering the Call Saving North

American Songbirds

North American Songbirds are commonly seen in New England, and you may recognize many of the species including Downy woodpeckers, Black-capped chickadees, Blue Jays, and Northern Cardinals, to name a few.

Keep a look out on your next visit for the many ways in which we are participating in this important initiative, including:

• Certified Bird Friendly coffee thanks to our partners at Fogbuster Coffee Works, soon to be available at locations throughout the Zoo

This year, your Roger Williams Park Zoo is expanding its conservation efforts to protecting North American songbirds by partnering with the Association of Zoo and Aquariums’ (AZA) Saving Animals from Extinction: North American Songbird (NAS SAFE) program.

Since 1970, North American bird populations have suffered a net decline of approximately three billion birds. Many of the species with the greatest declines are North American songbirds.

The NAS SAFE program focuses on native songbird conservation and preserving, enhancing, and building native habitats. This program also begins to address reducing contaminants that affect North American songbirds, promoting bird friendly coffee, participating in citizen science, and reducing North American songbird trafficking.

• Installation of more native plants to provide food and refuge to birds

• New decals on windows to prevent bird collisions

• Bird houses designed specifically for local songbirds

And stay tuned for more information on upcoming bird walks and a new bird feeder live streaming webcam!

Simple Actions to Live Bird Friendly:

Help make your home and lifestyle better for birds and the planet.

• Turn lights out and treat windows OR put up bird anticollision window stickers to help keep birds safe

• Reduce evening lighting during peak migratory seasons

• Keep cats indoors to save birds

• Plant native plants to shelter and nourish birds

• Purchase certified sustainable paper products to help preserve the nesting grounds of boreal forest songbirds

• Avoid pesticides for a bird-friendly home

• Drink Bird Friendly® coffee to protect disappearing habitats

• Avoid single-use plastics to protect birds and the planet


Working Together to Protect Endangered


May 21st marks World Tree Kangaroo Day! This day was created in honor of our favorite arboreal marsupials to raise awareness of tree kangaroos and rally support for conservation organizations assisting local community groups to save tree kangaroos and their natural habitats.

There are 14 species of tree kangaroo found in the rainforests of Papua New Guinea, the Indonesian Province of West Papua, and Australia.

Your Roger Williams Park Zoo is home to four Matschie’s tree kangaroos –Keweng, Paia, La Roo and Morobe. Matschie’s tree kangaroos live only on the Huon Peninsula of Papua New Guinea.

Native to the area’s mountainous rainforests, this mighty mammal is recognizable by its deep red and cream coloring. Their unique reddish hue comes from the tannins in the leaves they chew. Because their diet consists mostly of fruits, seeds, and nuts, they’re primary seed dispersers and contribute to creating and maintaining healthy forests.

These amazing animals use their powerful limbs, curved claws, and long tails to climb through treetops. Despite their impressive abilities, they spend 60% of their time sleeping.

Matschie’s tree kangaroos are an endangered species with an estimated wild population of less than 2,500 individuals. Your RWPZoo is a proud partner with the AZA Tree Kangaroo Species Survival Plan (SSP) breeding program, Tree Kangaroo SAFE Program, and the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program. These initiatives work to contribute to the conservation of tree kangaroos in the wild and support the local communities where the species live in Papua New Guinea.

Want to learn more?

Check out these great organizations committed to Tree Kangaroo Conservation in Papua New Guinea:

• Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program Committed to working with local communities to save Matschie’s tree kangaroos through support of the YUS Protected Area. Supports community livelihoods through conservation coffee and chocolate initiatives.

• Port Moresby Nature Park - Papua New Guinea’s only welfare accredited zoo providing the only tree kangaroo rescue services to animals that have been poached from the wild. Also runs breeding programs for Matschie’s and Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroos.


Corner Kids’

Can you answer these WILD trivia questions?

HibernatinG bear

(From alittlepinchofperfect.com)


• Paper plate

• Scissors

• Paint brush

• Pen

• Craft paint (black, gray)

• Glue

• Nature treasures (leaves, sticks, bark…)

• Cotton balls

1 2 4

This animal can sleep for up to 100 days without eating, drinking water, or passing waste.

a. Wolves

b. Geckos

c. Bears

d. Foxes

Scientists believe that humans cannot hibernate due to

a. Our size.

b. Not having the right organs.

c. Incompatible brain structures.

d. Not being able to burn fat slowly enough.


Animals survive through hibernation by___

a. Freezing their bodies to preserve themselves until winter is over.

b. Relying on a family unit member to bring them food and keep them sheltered.

c. Doubling their body weight and eating as much as they can.

d. Consuming only water to conserve energy and not waste energy through digestion.

e. By entering an almost meditative state that halts their metabolic rate and energy consumption entirely.

This animal holds the record for the longest hibernation of 11 months; even their name means ‘to sleep’.

a. Dormice

b. Pandas

c. Echidnas

d. Squirrels

e. Kangaroos Answers located on bottom of page.

Guess Zoo?


Step 1: Cut the paper plate in half and cut out the middle section to make a “C” shape for the front of the cave.

Step 2: Paint the “C” shape gray and the other half of the paper plate black for the inside of the cave and set aside to dry.

Step 3: Cut out a bear and draw a sleeping face on it.

Step 4: Glue the bear to the black part of the cave and decorate the cave with cotton balls and nature treasures.

Step 5: Glue the “C” shape on top of the black part and the craft is complete!

Can you identify these animals? Answers located on bottom of page.

2 3 4 5 6 7

Wild Trivia Answers: 1: C • 2: A • 3: C • 4: A; Guess Zoo Answers: 1. Fat-Tailed Dwarf Lemur 2. Grizzly Bear 3. Hedgehog 4. Little Brown Bat 5. North American Box Turtle 6. Prairie Dog 7. Skunk 8. Wood Frog

Nature Swap Quest of the Month

Spring is here! As the weather gets warmer, it’s the perfect time to get out there and search for some of nature’s treasures.

If you’re new to Nature Swap, located in Hasbro’s Our Big Backyard, you can bring in natural “found” items such as rocks, shells, acorns and more. Each item is worth a certain number of points that can be exchanged for even more interesting nature-related items such as fossils, fancy shells, or unique and colorful rocks.

You can also earn some extra points by telling a Zoo staff member about your experience finding the item, what you know about it and presenting it in a cool and exciting way. Each month has its very own quest of the month that follows a special theme and an opportunity to add some big points to your collection.

In January, we celebrated the Chinese New Year and swappers took photos in front of the Zoo’s various species that fit each animal in the Chinese calendar such as the Komodo dragon, goats, and monkeys.

February, the focus was on Groundhog Day, and swappers had the chance to earn 5,000 points for sending in facts about groundhogs.

Each month also includes a new featured item to help give swappers motivation to get out there and discover new and unique wonders nature has to offer. In March, there were many opportunities to earn points and learn about wildlife at home and at the Zoo! This month we drew particular attention to the conservation of North American Songbird species as the Zoo actively participates in the Northern American Songbird SAFE (Saving Animals From Extinction) program. For 5,000 points, Nature Swappers could bring in a photo or drawing of any songbird they saw as they explored the Zoo. Some of the species included: Downy woodpeckers, Black-capped chickadees, Blue Jays and Northern Cardinals.

March 3rd was also World Wildlife Day, an international celebration by the United Nations to bring attention to the world’s countless animal and plant species. For 5,000 points, swappers had the chance to document how they help their environment by cleaning up trash, installing bird feeders, and recycling.

Let’s see what April has in store, so get out there and get collecting!

summer Events & Ongoing Happenings at Zoo & Carousel


• CAROUSEL HOURS: Weekdays 12 pm to 6 pm/ Weekends 11 am to 6 pm

• 1st: Party for the Planet + Free Saturday

• 1st: Visit with the Easter Bunny at the Zoo

• 2nd: Visit with the Easter Bunny at the Zoo

• 7th: Visit with the Easter Bunny at the Zoo

• 7th to 14th: School Vacation Week (RI/CT)

• 7th to 30th: Dinosaurs on the Wetlands Trail

• 8th: Visit with the Easter Bunny at the Zoo

• 14th: Food Truck Friday Kick-off at Carousel Village

• 22nd: Earth Day Celebration

• 29th: Early-open Sensory-Friendly experience for dinos (8-9 am)


• CAROUSEL HOURS: Weekdays 12 pm to 6 pm/ Weekends 11 am to 6 pm

• 1st to 31st: Dinosaurs on the Wetlands Trail

• 11th: Whisky for Wildlife

• 13th: Dinos at Dusk Family Night

• 17th: Food Truck Sip and Stroll Event with Dinosaurs, 21+

• 20th: Early-open Sensory-Friendly experience for dinos (8-9 am)

• Fridays: Weekly Food Truck Friday at Carousel Village


• CAROUSEL HOURS: Weekdays 12 pm to 6 pm/ Weekends 11 am to 6 pm

• 1st to 30th: Dinosaurs on the Wetlands Trail

• 9th: Dream Night

• 10th: Yoga with the Elephants

• 10th Dinos at Dusk Family Night

• 11th: Yoga with the Elephants (Rain date)

• 17th: Early-open Sensory-Friendly experience for dinos (8-9 am)

• 24th: Zoobilee! Feast with the Beasts (Zoo Closed to Public)

• Fridays: Weekly Food Truck Friday at Carousel Village


• CAROUSEL HOURS: Daily 11 am - 6 pm

• 1st to 31st: Dinosaurs on the Wetlands Trail

• 8th: Early-open Sensory-Friendly experience for dinos (8-9 am)

• 8th: Dinos at Dusk Family Night

• 12th: Food Truck Sip and Stroll Event with Dinosaurs, 21+

• Fridays: Weekly Food Truck Friday at Carousel Village



• CAROUSEL HOURS: Daily 11 am - 6pm

• 5th: Yoga with the Elephants

• 5th: Dinos at Dusk Family Night

• 6th: Yoga with the Elephants (Rain Date)

• 12th: Elephant Open House

• 13th: Last day of Dinosaurs Among Us

• 26th: Brew at the Zoo (Zoo closes at 12 Noon)

• Fridays: Weekly Food Truck Friday at Carousel Village


Roger Williams Park Zoo is supported and managed by the Rhode Island Zoological Society and is owned by the City of Providence


Roger Williams Park Zoo Department of Marketing and Public Relations

Corrie Ignagni

Vicki Scharfberg

Nate Amaral

Designer Sara Beatrice

Tandem Designworks

Photo Credits

Roger Williams Park Zoo

WILD is an online publication of the Rhode Island Zoological Society, Roger Williams Park Zoo, 1000 Elmwood Avenue, Providence, Rhode Island 02907-3659

For membership information call (401) 785-3510 x375 or visit rwpzoo.org.


Officers Patrick T. LeBeau, CFP,® Chair

Nancy Allen, Vice Chair

Sandra L. Coletta, Vice Chair

Margaret Ferguson, Secretary

Maribeth Q. Williamson,


Board of Trustees

Martha Bower

Douglas Caniglia

Claire N. Carrabba

Cheryl Cohen

Barbara Cottam

Sarah Denby

Cindy Erickson

Pamela Heffernan

John J. Igliozzi

Elizabeth Rollins Mauran

Dr. Jeffrey Mello

Howard Merten

John J. Palumbo

Steven M. Parente

Karen E. Silva EdD, CHE


Stacey Johnson

Executive Director

Rhode Island Zoological Society/ Roger Williams Park Zoo

Wendy Nilsson

Superintendent of Parks

Providence Parks Department

Chairman Emeritus

Sophie F. Danforth*

Trustees Emeritus

Margaret E. Curran, Esq.

Thomas P. Dimeo*

Jocelin Hamblett

James S. Harper III, VMD*

Bradford B. Kopp

Arthur D. Little

Nancy G.R. Moger

Richard Nadeau

Jane S. Nelson

Cate M. Roberts

Philip A. Segal, Jr.

Robert F. Stoico


Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. With its more than 200 accredited members, AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation, and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. For more information visit www.aza.org

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Visit rwpzoo.org for more info
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