By MADDY VITALE
The Cape May County Zoo is normally open 364 days a year, closing only for Christmas. So, it was tough on the Zoo staff when they had to close to the public in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The team there routinely welcomes schools and families from throughout the region to come learn about the animals and explore the many exhibits.
But as schools have shifted online, so have the staffers at the Cape May County Zoo. The Virtual Zoo School is an initiative undertaken by the Zoo’s Education Department.
Each day a lesson on a species of animal at the Zoo gets posted online.
This is where the audience meets the animals like they never had before.
“The staff at the Cape May County Zoo is always amazing me,” said Freeholder E. Marie Hayes, liaison to the Zoo. “We are all practicing social distancing. But this is a way to connect despite everything that is going on in the world. Our employees are once again going the extra mile, like they always do.”
The lessons are posted daily at 11:30 a.m. on the Zoo’s Facebook page and on the Cape May County Government’s Zoo Website www.capemaycountynj.gov/1400/Virtual-Zoo-School.
The public will get information on the animal’s adaptations, their conversation, some unique information about each individual animal, take home lessons, and unique activities for the children and adults.
They will meet the Zoo’s animals, the educators, animal care staff, and will also get to see behind the scenes.
“We have been hearing some overwhelming positive feedback via email and on social media about this new initiative,” said Hayes. “I want to especially credit Alex Ernest and Kendra Verity and the rest of the staff for finding a way to engage with the public when they can’t visit one of the best zoos in the world.”
A link to the videos is available at https://www.capemaycountynj.gov/1400/Virtual-Zoo-School or at https://www.facebook.com/capemaycountyparkzoo/