From our perch on College Hill, we as a campus community can often feel isolated, a world unto itself. But there is a world outside campus. There are many opportunities for excursions off the hill, to get out into the Lehigh Valley and beyond, to experience all this region has to offer.
For many students, one of the most difficult parts about leaving home each break is leaving pets behind. Throughout the school year, students constantly crave those animal interactions. And while their own animals may not be in visiting distance, the animals of the Lehigh Valley Zoo are.
The zoo, located in Schnecksville, Penn., is home to all kinds of animals ranging from kangaroos, zebras, horned oryx and bison to bobcats, penguins and farm animals, according to the map of the zoo. Located on the 1,100 acre Trexler Nature Preserve, the surroundings of the zoo provide a scenic escape from College Hill’s routinely atmosphere.
While the zoo has only been in business for 12 years, it has seen a drastic increase in visitation in its time. According to the zoo’s website, general attendance more than doubled since 2005 when it reached 135,000 visitors in 2014.
Late this spring, the zoo will become home to two male Masai giraffes. In order to bring the giraffes to the Lehigh Valley, the zoo has launched a capital campaign. The zoo has collected approximately $482,000 in contributions toward the campaign’s goal of $700,000, according to the zoo’s webpage on the campaign.
Not only is there an abundance of animals to see, but regular events and amenities create a visitor-friendly environment at the zoo. While students looking for a day trip can purchase tickets for only $10 to $13, frequent visitors can also become members of the zoo. Benefits of a membership include free daytime admission for a year, various discounts at the zoo’s shops and restaurants and more. Individuals can purchase a membership for just $65, and couples for $85, according to the zoo’s website. These membership fees go toward the zoo’s daily animal care expenses of around $1,900, according to the website.
The zoo also hosts regular events such as birthday parties and weddings and is even available to be rented out. The zoo will host activities and events around days like World Penguin Day and National Bird Watching Weekend later in the spring.
For those students interested in visiting, the zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m until March 31. After March 31, hours extend to 4 p.m.