Delmarva Pets: Visitors Wander Through the Wild Side of Salisbury's Zoo
"We are very blessed here in Salisbury to have the Salisbury Zoo," said Cathy Bassett, Marketing Director for the Delmarva Zoological Society.
The only zoo located on the Eastern Shore, the Salisbury Zoo touts a number of rare benefits.
"We're one of only a handful of zoos in all of North America that are free admission, free parking, that are Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredited. Anyone can use it. It's open seven days a week," said Bassett.
There are several types of exotic animals from hungry tortoises to swinging spider monkeys to big ole' bison. Zoo docents are always on hand teaching visitors about habitats, diets and the animals' unique capabilities.
"This is our turkey vulture," said docent Dudley Bowman as he showed WRDE the bird of prey resting on his glove-covered arm.
"This guy is a local. You'll see him a lot in our skies. It likes to eat dead things. Diseases like rabies, typhoid, various bad stuff that we could catch from these dead animals, they eat them and are not affected at all. They're well designed to do what they do," said Bowman.
Zookeeper Mary Poudel showed off a Spectacled Owl at the zoo's annual "Zoobilation" fundraiser on June 25.
"We have our spectacled owl here today. Owls' eyes are so large that they cannot move them in their eye sockets, so they have to physically move their necks," said Poudel. "They can do 270 degrees, or ¾ of a circle."
With so many animals to care for and a new "Discover Australia" exhibit in the works, the city-owned zoo still needs to raise money to support its operations.
That's where the Delmarva Zoological Society and events like Zoobilation come into play.
"Zoobilation is our largest fundraiser of the year," said Bassett, "it is an evening event here at the zoo. Not many people get to come out to the zoo at night and some of our animals are more nocturnal so they get a little more crazy at night."
And with each fundraiser, each penny donated, the Salisbury Zoo moves closer to solidifying its place in the city as a treasure to be protected for generations to come.
"We know that people raise their kids here," Bassett said, "and their kids come back and raise their kids here and so we are sort of part of building that legacy. People can give back to the zoo and make sure it's going to be here when they raise their grandkids."
The Salisbury Zoo opens every morning at 9:30 a.m. and closes at 4 p.m. The only days the zoo closes is on Thanksgiving and Christmas day.