Weather Forecast


Zoomobile brings some of its favorite animals on July 17

Residents can learn more about the Minnesota Zoo and some of its animals during Rivertown Days. The Zoomobile is making a return appearance at the festival at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, July 17, at Jaycee Park along the Mississippi River. The program is free and is for the entire family.

The Zoomobile and its trained staff of naturalists travel to schools and communities such as Hastings, providing an educational and entertaining environmental experience to a variety of audiences. The naturalists use live animals, biological artifacts, theater techniques, story telling, and audience participation.

"Our goal is to provide people with positive connection with animals and with the rest of the environment," said Zoomobile director Kevin Wier.

The program travels throughout Minnesota. They go to schools during the school year, and the community programs, such as libraries, festivals, and camps.

This is the second appearance of the Zoomobile here in Hastings for a Rivertown Days festival. It made a stop last year. The Zoomobile has made stops at Hastings schools in the past several years.

Wier described the event as informal.

"It will be more an interaction with the audience," he said. "We will bring a variety of birds, mammals, reptiles, and invertebrates with us. There will be an opportunity to touch some of them."

Usually, the staff brings artifacts for the audience to see, including feathers and bones. The staff and the animals arrive in a decorated van (it is very obvious where the van is from).

The Zoomobile has been part of the Zoo for almost as long as the zoo has been in existence - 30 years. The goal of the Zoomobile program is to create and establish a sense of stewardship and respect for the diversity and complexity of all life and of the earth.

Wier said the response to the Zoomobile has been excellent, 'It has been very popular," he said. "We have tons of repeats."

Founded in 1978, the Minnesota Zoo exists to connect people, animals and the natural world. More than 1.3 million visit the zoo annually. More than 2,900 animals reside there.

The sponsor of the Hastings program is Pearle Vision.