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Friday, August 26, 2005

Hurricane Katrina & Another Zoo

Well wow! She's a fast one isn't she? She gained strength quickly in the Atlantic, now she's off into the Gulf and so far has reached Catagory 2 status.

My best friend, her little boy and I went to a local zoo yesterday. It's only 15 minutes away, but it's been years since I've been there. Ya know what? It was cleaner and better than the Philadelphia Zoo. Yes it was a lot smaller but it was a lot of fun! He had tons of monkeys, no large cats, but it was still a lot of fun and we couldn't ask for better weather. Next month we plan on going to the Popcorn Zoo. The popcorn zoo is actually more like a sanctuary. All there animals are there because they were either abandoned, abused, or rescued. Every building material, food and any upkeep of the animals is done by donations. I love that place, but it's so sad to read what people did to these poor animals. Below is an editor's comments about the Popcorn Park Zoo.

Usually a visit to the zoo must be taken with a bitter pill of regret for the animals' cramped quarters, lack of animation and severance from their natural environments. The opposite is true at Popcorn Park, a seven-acre rescue zoo housed in the scenic Pine Barrens of Southern New Jersey. The animals here are wildlife's version of shelter pets: abandoned elephants, exploited tigers, rejected parrots and fallow deer found starving in sand pits. Perfect subjects for the TV show 'Animal Psychic,' these creatures all came to the zoo as survivors of bad jobs, hurtful keepers, fickle circuses, natural disasters and the many other circumstances that leave animals in need of new places to call home. And what a home the Park is, with its acreage adorned with indigenous Scrub Oak, Scrub Pine and free-ranging residents like the Chinese geese that greet visitors at the gate.

The Big Thrills This sprawling zoo houses more than 200 animals, each with its own heartrending backstory. Meet creatures as illustrious as Bunky the lion (rescued from a drug dealer), or as humble as Holly the Sicilian donkey (a refugee from a former 4-H Project). Other denizens include parrots, macaws, tigers, an Angus bull, American black bears, llamas, tortoises, iguanas, bobcats, cows and White-Faced Capuchins.

Must-Have Admission Info: At $3.50 a head ($2.50 for seniors and children), Popcorn Park's affordability is on a par with its integrity. It's also accessible, maintaining an all-seasons schedule of 11AM to 5PM. Soda, popcorn and snacks are available on the premises, as are a picnic area and public restrooms.

Tips and Hints: After feeling the love from the zoo's many rescued residents, you may be in the mood to "adopt" your own animal. Visitors can become sponsors by joining the Popcorn Park Wildlife Club, claiming responsibility for their own creature for a mere $2 per month. In return, you'll receive word (and a picture) of your foster pet every four months. -- Julia Clinger

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