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The Milwaukee County Zoo will honor the largest land mammals roaming the earth later this month.

On Sept. 17, the zoo will hold "Elephant Appreciation Day" to honor African elephants. Special activities will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The day is designed to spread awareness and highlight the conservation efforts for the endangered animals.

Proceeds from the zoo's Elephant Appreciation Day benefit the International Elephant Foundation and Elephants for Africa. All activities are included in regular zoo admission.

Highlights of the day include:

  • Elephant Barn: Enter the world of the zoo’s two African elephants, Ruth and Brittany, and see how they are cared for daily by touring the elephant barn between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
  • Save the Species: Learn more about elephant habitats in the wild and how the zoo contributes to elephant conservation projects throughout the world.
  • Enrichment Activities: Visitors can watch the zoo’s elephants take part in enrichment activities that encourage them to express many of the same behaviors they would in the wild. Listen to a welcome talk at 10:30 a.m. followed by an enrichment session, during which you can observe elephants interacting with different items to keep their minds active. An additional enrichment session is offered at 2 p.m.
  • “Go Grey": If you wear a grey piece of clothing Sept. 17 in support of elephants, you’ll be entered into a special drawing! “Go Grey” is in conjunction with the Wildlife Conservation Society’s program to draw attention to the plight of elephants in the wild.
  • Elephant Art and Artifacts: Have a chance to actually touch elephant-related artifacts, like a real tusk and tail hair. Ruth and Brittany will create original paintings by holding brushes with their trunks — visitors can purchase this unique art, all to benefit elephant conservation. 
  • Wild Elephants: Try something new and write your name and a message for wild elephants on a specially designed paper elephant foot. Visitor messages will be posted to the barn for display. 
  • Big Behaviors: Hear and see how the elephants are trained, as they demonstrate different behaviors in a special training session with zookeepers at 1:30 p.m.
  • Be an Elephant for the Day: This year’s special event offers the opportunity to play games that let you see what it’s like to use a trunk to pick up food, and create elephant feet to try and walk like an elephant — even get a temporary elephant tattoo. 
  • Show Your Support: Wear your elephant ears from the day’s activities and receive a free ride on the Penzeys Spices Carousel.
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