Posted by: Kath Usitalo | August 31, 2011

Detroit Lions Not Just Lyin’ Around

A glass wall offers a clear view of the expanded habitat for the Detroit Zoo's 6 lions; a pair rests on a ledge of the simulated rock wall

Someone told me it’s all happening at the zoo, and after a visit the other day I do believe it’s true.

The Detroit Zoo recently unveiled a new lion habitat, and from what I witnessed, the big cats are very much at home in their renovated space.

Since lions sleep 20 hours a day, we were lucky to see them up and about. Watch the R rated slideshow to see what happened next.

The lions’ exhibit was original to the Zoo when it opened in 1928 and was revolutionary in design because it featured stylized rock walls and there were no bars—a moat separated the animals and visitors.

That moat has been filled to more than double the roaming room for the six resident lions, from 3,500 to 7,500 square feet.

A 17-foot high glass wall now comes between the two and four legged creatures.

In cool weather a large, heated “rock” near the window wall should entice the lions to lounge there for an extremely close-up view.

Lions sleep up to 20 hours each day, so to see them moving about is a treat…a matter of luck and timing.

When I was there two of the lions—a male and a female—rested on a ledge on the back rock wall. After watching them for several minutes I was about to move on when the male decided he was ready for an afternoon delight. It’s the first time I witnessed a lion getting frisky. Talk about getting lucky.

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In other Detroit Zoo news, a carousel is under construction and scheduled to make its first spin in September. The 33 hand-crafted animals include horses plus an anteater, camel, sea otter, penguin, turtle, ladybug, dinosaur and bat (!).

The Zoo is home to 6 species of vulture

On Saturday, September 3 there will be special programs to observe International Vulture Awareness Day; 6 types of vultures call Royal Oak home.

And, with extended Labor Day Weekend hours there’s more time to enjoy the Zoo over the holiday:
9 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, September 3-4
9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, September 5

This weekend is the last chance to see the animated dinos of the special Dinosauria exhibit, which wraps up its summer-long stay on Labor Day.

Next week on Senior Day, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Wednesday, September 7, the Zoo welcomes residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties  62 and older, plus a caregiver, with free admission, parking, and railroad rides.

Become a Detroit Zoo member and enjoy free admission and parking, plus reduced admission at dozens of zoos in the U.S. and Canada.

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