Eggstravaganza provides excitement at zoo

4/1/2013

By RACHAEL GRAY

By RACHAEL GRAY

rgray@gctelegram.com

Animals at the Lee Richardson Zoo had mixed reactions Saturday to an Easter surprise that awaited them.

Tarra Tyson, manager of educational outreach for the zoo, came up with the idea to provide papier-mâché Easter eggs with treats inside to the zoo's animals.

The eggs were created by zoo volunteers and decorated by students from Florence Wilson Elementary School. Shelli Lalicker, a trained zoo docent and elementary science teacher, helped the students make the eggs.

Tyson said it was a unique enrichment activity for the zoo, and a fun way to celebrate the holiday. This was the first year for the "Eggstravaganza."

Some ferociously attacked the eggs to get to the treats. Others picked at the eggs gradually, and still others didn't have too much interest at first.

A good-sized crowd turned out for the event, and to spend Saturday and Easter Sunday at the zoo in general.

"We did have mixed reactions from the animals," Tyson said, although the people seemed to enjoy watching them.

Tyson said one of the funniest reactions to the egg was the lemur, which stuck its head all the way inside the egg to try to get the treats, then had to figure out how to get unstuck.

Whitney Buchman, manager of distance learning and technology, also said the animals displayed an array of reactions.

"Some of them were diving into them. Others had to figure it out. It was a good activity and very festive. And we couldn't have asked for better weather," he said.

The zoo stayed packed with people all weekend, taking advantage of the mild temperatures and family time.

Swarms of people lined the sidewalks of the zoo both Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

On Saturday, Deborah and Ronald Walters took their son, Jerome, his wife, Julie, and their grandchildren Austin, 10, and Alyssa, 8, to the zoo. Jerome and his family were visiting from Lawrence for Easter weekend.

They rented a surrey bike from the Safari Shoppe, so they could all pedal around the zoo together.

Alyssa said her favorite part about the zoo was seeing all the animals.

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