About greensborosciencecenter

The Greensboro Science Center offers three fascinating attractions in one wild destination! We are the only facility in North Carolina that offers an aquarium, museum, and zoo. Spend the day with us and come nose to beak with playful penguins, get eye to eye with awesome otters, explore the human body, experience Mother Nature’s fury and fun, and encounter exotic animals like gibbons, meerkats, and lemurs!

Media Release: Color Maze to Open at the Greensboro Science Center

Color-Maze---OrbsGREENSBORO, NC — On Wednesday, June 27, the Greensboro Science Center (GSC) is bringing back an old favorite with a new twist. The GSC’s popular maze will return as the Color Maze, a puzzling adventure that highlights the science of light and color. GSC members will receive a preview of the exhibit from 9:00 a.m. – noon on Wednesday, June 27 before it opens to all GSC guests at noon.

Upon entering the exhibit, guests will encounter hands-on stations designed to shed some light on everything from optical illusions and color blindness to ultraviolet light and wavelengths. Young children are invited to explore and learn in a play area containing manipulatives like colorful blocks and books about colors. In addition, guests can pop virtual balloons and watch them rain colorful confetti, create colored shadows, and put on a puppet show with shadow puppets.

The maze itself features twists and turns with colorful surprises around every bend. Fireflies are featured in an area designed to enlighten guests about bioluminescence (light produced by living things). Prisms illuminate the mystery behind rainbows, demonstrating how white light is split into the color spectrum. Shooting stars spotlight the science behind the different colors you see when meteors streak through the sky. Fun finds like colorful orbs and a black light zone also await discovery.

Color-Maze-Colored-ShadowsMartha Regester, the GSC’s VP of Education, says, “Color is such a big part of our world and we wanted to shed some light on the fun science behind the spectrum and optics! We think visitors of all ages will really enjoy the exhibit’s special effects and want to play with color.”

Admission to the Color Maze is included with general admission to the Greensboro Science Center. General admission is $13.50 for adults ages 14 – 64, $12.50 for children ages 3 – 13 and $12.50 for seniors ages 65+. Children 2 and under as well as Greensboro Science Center Members are free.

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About the Greensboro Science Center – A premier family attraction in North Carolina that offers the state’s first accredited inland aquarium, a hands-on science museum, an accredited Animal Discovery Zoological Park, a state-of-the-art OmniSphere Theater, and SKYWILD, an animal-inspired treetop adventure park. The GSC is also NC’s only dually accredited AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) and AAM (American Alliance of Museums) science attraction – an honor only 14 attractions in the nation can claim. The Greensboro Science Center is located at 4301 Lawndale Drive in Greensboro and is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization. For more information, visit http://www.greensboroscience.org.
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Continuing Our Education

We recently sent our VP Conservation & Research, Lindsey Zarecky, and one of our Herp Keepers, Audrey Stallings, to an ATAG (Amphibian Taxon Advisory Group) Amphibian Field Research Course. The course was taught by eight NC- and AZA-based instructors and attended by 18 participants ranging from researchers and keepers to amphibian enthusiasts. The course focused on amphibian field research techniques, with participants spending time in the field (including the Sandhills, the NC Zoo, Boone, and Grandfather Mountain) everyday for the duration of the course.

Zarecky and Stallings shared with us a few highlights of what they did during the program:

  • Audrey Weighing a SalamanderWe learned how to use PIT (passive integrative transponders) tags. These are similar to the microchips our pets have. Each tag has a unique number so that when scanned, you can ID the individual.
  • We learned how to use VIE (visible implant elastomer) – a brightly colored, non-toxic material that is injected just below the skin layer. This technique is very useful when it comes to headstarting; when all the tadpoles from a particular year’s egg masses hatch and complete metaphasis into a frog or toad, you can place a particular color on those frogs’ legs. Then, you release the frogs. The next year, you select a different color for the next generation, and so on. This makes it so that when you go out into the field and find frogs, you’ll know the year they were born based upon their VIE.
  • We learned amphibian radio tracking techniques. Unlike other animals, amphibians respire through their skin, so it’s not feasible to place a conventional radio tag onto their bodies. Therefore, we made them small belts using monofilament, a very small and flexible tubing, plus the radio tag. The frog wears this tag like a belt buckle (but with the buckle on its back). To test our knowledge, two radio-tagged frogs were released on NC Zoo’s grounds, then we had to use telemetry equipment to locate them.
  • Probably one of the most fascinating techniques we learned was eDNA – the process of collecting water samples and using the sloughed-off amphibian DNA present therein to identify whether a particular species was present in the water. From collecting the samples, to extracting the DNA, buffering it, and even running the polymerase chain reaction technique, it all happened streamside with the use of a backpack eDNA kit.

Zarecky and Stallings learned about each of the nearly 100 species of amphibians that live here in NC, as well as some of the major diseases that can affect them. There was even a test in which instructors laid out 52 specimens that participants then had to identify! Not only were they expected to identify many amphibians by sight but by listening to their vocalizations, too.

Learning how to ID Amphibians

We’re very proud of our staff for continuing their education! Participating in programs like the ATAG workshop ensures that GSC is able to further its mission of conservation and research while offering you, our community, the best science education programming possible.

Media Release: Brews & Bubbles Beer Tasting Conservation Fundraiser

GREENSBORO, NC – The Greensboro Science Center (GSC) is hosting Brews & Bubbles, its annual beer tasting fundraiser, on Friday, April 20, 2018 from 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Tickets are on sale now at greensboroscience.org. Prices are $40 for GSC members and $45 for non-members, with 100% of proceeds supporting local and global conservation initiatives.

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Last year, the event raised $12,000 for conservation and this year, GSC officials hope to raise $15,000.

Lindsey Zarecky, the GSC’s VP of Conservation & Research, says, “Funds raised last year supported conservation partners around the globe, helping to protect species including fishing cats, seahorses, Komodo dragons, sharks, monarch butterflies, lemurs, and penguins. Event proceeds also helped to support our local conservation partners, including the Piedmont Land Conservancy. We’re excited to provide a fun evening event that also raises money to help sustain some of the amazing work being done around the world!”

Each Brews & Bubbles ticket includes beer samples from participating North Carolina breweries, a souvenir tasting glass, hors d’oeuvres, and live music from Graymatter and duo Blind-Dog Gatewood & Abe Reid. Capacity is limited and the event tends to sell out, so GSC officials recommend purchasing tickets in advance.

Media Release: “Wicked Plants” Author to Speak at Science Café

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Amy Stewart, author of “Wicked Plants: The Weed that Killed Lincoln’s Mother & Other Botanical Atrocities”

GREENSBORO, NC – The Greensboro Science Center (GSC) will host Amy Stewart, the author of “Wicked Plants: The Weed that Killed Lincoln’s Mother & Other Botanical Atrocities,” at a Science Café on Wednesday, April 4 from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Stewart’s book is the basis of Wicked Plants: The Exhibit, hosted at the GSC through May 6, 2018. Admission to the Science Café is free.

About the Science Café

Join author Amy Stewart for a closer look at the medicinal, mind-altering and mysterious properties of plants, from strangling vines to heart-stopping seeds and even a leaf that started a war! Amy blends science with history in this talk, a companion piece to Wicked Plants: The Exhibit. Wickedly tasty snacks will be provided before the talk.

Stewart will also be signing copies of her book, “Wicked Plants,” available for sale at the event. Her talk is geared towards older children and adults.

This event is part of the North Carolina Science Festival, a month-long event that highlights the educational, cultural and financial impact of science in the state.

Amy Stewart Bio

Best-selling New York Times author Amy Stewart is no stranger to the perils and pleasures of the natural world. To date, she has written nine books, including “The Drunken Botanist,” “Wicked Bugs” and “Flower Confidential.” Beyond putting pen to paper, Amy travels the country as a highly sought-after public speaker whose spirited lectures have inspired and entertained audiences at college campuses, corporate offices, museums, gardens and libraries nationwide. She currently resides in Portland, Oregon, with her husband Scott with whom she owns an independent bookstore (so independent that it lives in California) called Eureka Books.

Amy’s books have been translated into 16 languages and her 2009 book, “Wicked Plants: The Weed that Killed Lincoln’s Mother & Other Botanical Atrocities,” has been adapted into a national traveling exhibit entitled Wicked Plants: The Exhibit. She has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, the American Horticulture Society’s Book Award and an International Association of Culinary Professionals Food Writing Award.

For more information on Amy, please visit amystewart.com.

From the Vet Desk: Penguin Procedure

Zookeepers’ and aquarists’ jobs go far beyond feeding and cleaning up after animals. Our amazing team of professionals know their charges intimately and keep a very close eye on each and every one of the animals they care for. By familiarizing themselves with each animal’s tendencies and behaviors, our team is more likely to notice when something is wrong before it becomes a serious issue. Such was the case recently with Tux, one of our female African penguins.

Several weeks ago, keepers noticed that Tux wasn’t eating regularly. At the time, she was fostering chicks, so our team thought that a possible explanation. However, as the abnormal behavior continued, they began to grow concerned.

Our birds have been trained to take food directly from our keepers’ hands, but Tux is one of the few birds in the colony that will pick up a dropped fish and eat it. Because of her ability to do so, keepers suspected she may have picked up and ingested a foreign body by mistake. They discussed their concerns with our veterinary team, who then performed an examination to attempt to identify the problem. However, the bloodwork and radiograph results from the exam yielded no conclusive results.

As a precautionary measure, our animal care team decided further examination was in order. Enter Dr. Dan Johnson from Avian and Exotic Animal Care and Dr. Rik Wyatt from Animal Emergency Hospital and Urgent Care, both located in Raleigh. These experts came out with a specialized scope to examine the path from Tux’s esophagus all the way to her stomach to ensure no blockage was present.

Check out these photos of the procedure:

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A scope inserted in Tux’s throat allows the animal care team to see the entire path from mouth to stomach.

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The scope shows clear pathways.

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Tux’s heart rate is monitored throughout the procedure.

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Tux’s primary keeper, Shannon, is on hand as the bird comes out of anesthesia.

We are pleased to report that Tux is doing well after her exam, and her eating habits are back to normal. We’re grateful to our animal care team for moving so quickly to address a potential health concern, as well as to Dr. Dan and his team for providing a scope and extra assistance during this procedure!

Fishing Kitten Born at the Greensboro Science Center

MEDIA RELEASE

GREENSBORO, NC – The Greensboro Science Center (GSC) is excited to announce that Tallulah, its female fishing cat, has given birth. On Thursday, February 15, Tallulah delivered two fishing kittens, one of which was stillborn. The second kitten, however, has been observed moving about and nursing. If all continues to go well, GSC guests and media can expect to see the kitten on exhibit in about three months.

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Tallulah and her mate, Mako, have been recommended for breeding by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) since 2014, in cooperation with Mako’s owners, the Lionshare Educational Organization (LEO) Zoological Conservation Center in Connecticut. This is the first successful fishing cat birth at the GSC and one of only a few successful fishing cat births in the United States this year.

Senior Keeper Rachael Campbell says, “Mom and baby appear to be doing well. From the video monitors, we can see the baby nursing and getting lots of grooming from Tallulah. We’re always cautious with new babies and new moms, so we’re trying to be as hands-off as possible. As long as we continue to see positive signs, we will let them be.”

Campbell says she doesn’t see any signs of stress from Tallulah when she is cleaning the exhibit, but the pair has a good relationship and the cat is comfortable with her.

“Tallulah is not comfortable around people she doesn’t know,” Campbell says, “so my relief keepers have noticed her being a bit more vocal.”

Keepers will continue to keep their distance until the kitten is about 30 days old. At that point, Campbell says she may begin to handle the kitten if Tallulah is comfortable with the separation. Because Tallulah tends to become stressed around strangers, the GSC’s veterinarian will not check the kitten until it reaches six to eight weeks of age.

Once it is around three months old and can easily move around, get in and out of the water, jump, climb, etc., the kitten will move onto exhibit. If the kitten is a female, she will continue to live with Tallulah until placed in another facility. If the kitten is a male, he will be separated from his mother once he reaches sexual maturity, which typically happens at the year and a half mark.

The GSC will continue to update the public on the kitten’s progress on the organization’s social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Screaming Hairy Armadillos – Relationship Status: It’s Complicated

It’s Valentine’s Day, and love is in the air! Whether it’s love for your partner or a friend, or it’s love for your own wonderful self, you probably won’t be able to escape thinking about it for at least a few minutes (…sorry!). In the spirit of love, we wanted to use today’s blog to hone in on the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP), with a spotlight on our screaming hairy armadillos, Lenny and Rizzo.

In captivity, the screaming hairy armadillo population is dwindling. There’s a whole host of reasons for this, but the main ones are that there aren’t enough successful breeding pairs out there, coupled with low reproductive rates. Per the recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), we’re crossing our fingers that Cupid’s arrow will fly and find its mark with our armadillos. Lenny, who you can find on exhibit in our Discovery House, and Rizzo, our back-of-house armadillo, are a part of a very detailed strategy for successful captive breeding.

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During Rizzo’s ovulation cycle, which occurs during only two seasons of the year, the armadillos are given up to two months together in hopes that the spark of love will ignite. Lenny will even spend his evenings in the back-of-house so that he and Rizzo can have more time together. Since gestation takes from 60-80 days, and if conception were to occur early on in her mating period with Lenny, Rizzo could give birth while still in the company of her mate. This leads to a high level of stress for the potential mother and could lead to her eating her offspring. To avoid these things, a pregnant Rizzo would have to be moved entirely out of Discovery House and taken to a low-stimulation environment in which she wouldn’t even be able to so much as smell her mate, Lenny.

When and if babies are successfully produced, litter size is small – consistently yielding twins. The two are initially quite fragile, as babies are. So along with the obstacles leading up to a successful pregnancy, keeping the babies healthy and sustained can be a trial in itself.

The odds could seem insurmountable, but our keepers are doing everything they can to ensure the possibility of a successful breeding with our screaming hairy armadillos. With the help of AZA and our partners in other accredited zoos, we are learning how best to guide this species to a better future.