There was a packed deck and a line of people waiting to see the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's new Ben Gogolick Giraffe Encounter in the African Savanna, which features an entirely new experience for guests.
The larger feeding deck, which opened on Thursday, expands the experience with its position further into the exhibit, putting people nose-to-nose with the giraffes. Guests will still be feeding giraffes romaine lettuce as they did in the past, but hours have expanded to 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Romaine lettuce samplings cost $2 per leaf and are available on site.
"We previously had a giraffe feed deck at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, and this gives guests a better interaction," said Andi Kornak, director of animal and veterinary programs.
12-year-old Corey Gentry said getting up close with the giraffes made this his favorite experience at the zoo.
"You get to walk up and when the giraffes come up to you. It's just so cute," Corey said. "I gotta tell everybody to come to the zoo. It's awesome."
The Ben Gogolick Giraffe Encounter is named in honor of a generous Cleveland Zoological Society donor's father and will run through Labor Day.