Eko the #SumatranTiger has real boundary issues. That’s why we use “protective contact” in our animal care protocols. Scroll down to the JZKeeper Chat for a description of exactly what that means. Photo by JZKeeper Alex

I Spy Halloween with the MS Credit Unions

Not only can you get tickets for visiting the zoo this coming weekend ONLINE right now, but you can also go ahead and get FREE CHILD ADMISSION to our I Spy Halloween with the Credit Unions of Mississippi event while supplies last!

It’s a whole afternoon of merry-not-scary activities before kids can enter Trick or Treat Row for candy from Century First Federal Credit Union, CommFirst Federal Credit Union, Eagle Express Federal Credit Union, Jackson Area Federal Credit Union, Keesler Federal Credit Union, Members Exchange, Rivertrust Federal Credit Union, and Statewide Federal Credit Union.

12 noon until 4 pm.

It’s regular admission to get in (ages 13 and up $8, $5 for ages 2-12, and children under 2 years old are free), with admission that day ending at 3 pm.

When purchased or reserved online before the day of the event, however, each adult transaction can get up to four (4) children under 12 years old in for FREE courtesy of the Credit Unions of Mississippi and City of Jackson Parks and Recreation. *Each transaction must have at least one adult ticket reserved, and only four free children’s tickets are allowed per order.

Our regular weekly hours are Thursdays through Sundays from 10 am to 4 pm, with daily admissions stopping at 2:45 pm. Endangered Species carousel rides are $2 each. Hot Diggity Dog, Dippin’ Dots, and Brick Street Pops are open on Saturdays and Sundays only, and there are Pepsi machines. No outside food or beverages (except water) are allowed on zoo grounds, but we encourage families to use Livingston Park for their picnicking, as long as they take their trash out with them.Don’t forget your masks! Guests will not be admitted without one, and they may be asked at anytime they are on grounds to wear it near certain exhibits.

Volunteer Opportunities

There has already been some interest in volunteering for I Spy (thank you Dian, Cheryl, and some of our AmeriCorps NCCC members, to name just a few!), and the Volunteer Opportunities page on the website has been updated.

There are 3 different days when the Zoo Event manager needs assistance, so check out the options and help if you can. Due to the type of work that needs to be done, it’s not really a good fit for kids under 13. But we appreciate any help we can get!

JZKeeper Chat

Maebell the #Chimp enjoys her daily corn on the cob on the other side of the barrier from her caregiver. Photo: JZDirector Dave


One of the questions JZKeepers get asked most by visitors is “What is it like to pet a tiger or play with a monkey?” This is usually a very educational moment for people, as the first thing a professional animal care staffer will say is, “We don’t.”

The exciting moments of interaction between caregivers and wildlife that are shown in movies and on tv are not only unrealistic, but actually not within proper animal care protocol.

In accredited zoos and wildlife refuges, there is ALWAYS a barrier between the keeper and the animal, and it’s called PROTECTIVE CONTACT. This form of care accomplishes several goals:

  • It ensures the safety and comfort of both the human and the animal in any situation
  • It gives the animal the freedom of choice (if they don’t want to cooperate, they can walk away and Keeper has to try again later, or do things as slow or a fast as they want to)
  • It creates a more meaningful level of communication, as the animal and keeper must work together instead of in opposition (you can’t just MAKE a chimp or tiger do something when there is a barrier, they have to WANT to)
  • It helps the keepers develop a better sense of focus, as well as looking for different avenues of training that are specific to each animal
  • It encourages positive reinforcement on both sides (if both sides figure out how to get what they want from each other, everyone’s happier at the end)

There ARE certain smaller animals that Keepers can work with inside exhibits, but even if they can, it doesn’t mean they do. When it comes to wildlife, modern animal care professionals know that the best thing that humans can do for animals is just not get involved unless there is no other choice.

Look deeper into the professional animal care world at JZKeepers.com, on Facebook.com/JZKeepersAAZKChapter, or on Instagram.com/jzkeepers_aazk.

Copyright 2021 The Jackson Zoo | 2918 West Capitol Street, Jackson, MS 39209

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