Millions of people feel like they already know the Animal Adventure Park team after watching them take care of April the pregnant giraffe for so long. Now, many of April’s new fans are making the trip to see their new ‘friends’ in person.
Animal Adventure Park kicked off its 2017 season on Monday, two days late because of poor weather. But the delay didn’t keep plenty of people from attending the public debut of baby Taj, along with April and her mate Oliver.
“It was a large crowd,” an AAP spokesperson offered. “April, Oliver and Taj did wonderful with the first visitors of the season and everything at the park was on point and ran smoothly.”
April became a viral hit earlier this year when the park installed a webcam in her birthing pen, allowing millions of people around the world to follow the last months of her pregnancy. Meanwhile, park officials worked behind the scenes, expanding the park in anticipation of new visitors this season.
One of those new fans was Diana Smith, who made the drive up from State College, Pennsylvania on Monday, picking up her mother-in-law along the way. Diana had begun watching April in February and “fell in love with her.”
“When opening day was upon us, it was a perfect time to go. It was my mother-in-law’s 91st birthday and Mother’s Day, and she followed April's story too. So we packed up and made the drive,” Smith offered. “The park was absolutely beautiful.”
Smith said that there was a “nice crowd,” including a lot of school buses filled with elementary-aged children who got plenty of interaction with the keepers. Footage posted to social media showed the outside of the barn that so many people had only seen from the inside, along with April and Taj, of course.
Smith also had kind words for park owner Jordan Patch, who became a familiar face for many viewers thanks to his regular Facebook updates as April’s pregnancy continued.
I had a chance to talk to a few locals that were visiting the park as well, and I got nothing but positive responses from them,” she continued. “Jordan has the support of his neighbors, which is nice to hear. I wish him much success and look forward to going back and visiting again.”
April the Giraffe
After months of waiting for his birth, and weeks of watching him clomp around on a live stream, you can now meet April the giraffe’s baby boy Tajiri face-to-face.
Animal Adventure Park opened for the season on Monday, giving visitors their first chance to see the long-awaited calf in person. According to Spectrum News, the line to get into the wildlife park on opening day snaked into the parking lot, filled with people eager to see April, Tajiri and dad Oliver all together.
Tajiri, whose name was chosen by his keeper and means “hope” in Swahili, is no longer the tiny calf we first saw stumbling around on April 15. The giraffe has already grown to 6 feet 4 inches and weighs 180 pounds.
The blossoming boy and his family were supposed to make their debut on Saturday, but the park postponed the opening to Monday due to a storm rolling through the Harpursville, New York, area.
This means Tajiri and April got to share a quiet Mother’s Day together before greeting their first throng of fans at the start of the week.
he time Tajiri fans have to meet the calf is limited. Once the male giraffe has matured, he will be moved to another zoo to prevent inbreeding.
Those unable to make the trip to Tajiri’s New York home can still keep tabs on the calf and his family on the Animal Adventure Park live stream of the giraffe enclosure, which now runs on Tuesdays from 4:00 pm – 8:00 p.m. EST.
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