Giraffe encounter at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo opens for the season

CLEVELAND-- This weekend the giraffe encounter at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo opened for the season.

(Photo: Jen Steer/FOX 8 News)

At the deck in the African Savanna area, visitors can get up close to giraffes and feed the world's tallest mammals. Four giraffes call the zoo home.

"Part of our mission at the zoo is to, of course, connect people with wildlife," said Travis Vineyard, curator of animals. "This really fulfills our mission."

Giraffes are very popular on social media because of April the pregnant giraffe at Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, New York. About 50 giraffes have been born at the Cleveland zoo. It's been about two and a half years since they've welcomed a calf.

April's popularity has also encouraged many people to learn about giraffes and conservation. The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo partners with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation to champion preservation efforts.

"Giraffes are very iconic and not necessarily recognized as a species that deserves a lot of conservation attention," Vineyard said.

The Ben Gogolick Giraffe Encounter is open daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., weather permitting. Romaine lettuce is $2.50 a leaf and available at the giraffe deck.

For zoo hours and admission information, click here.

More stories on the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo here

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo