Ring in the New Year Early at Cleveland Zoo
By Kristen Gough

Ring in the New Year Early at Cleveland Zoo

Who says you have to wait until midnight to celebrate 2017?

Showered with ticker tape while music blasts and the crowd around you erupts into, “Happy New Year!” noon can feel like midnight. Really.




Noon Year's Eve at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

For the 11th year in a row the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is decking out their main plaza so families can countdown to 2017 right at … 11:59 a.m. Called Noon Year’s Eve, last year the event drew more than 3,500 people.




Noon Year's Eve at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

“Noon Year’s Eve was created in an effort to focus on a kid-friendly celebration of New Year’s Eve, with activities that are fun for the whole family at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo,” explains Stephanie Winget, Communications Coordinator for the Zoo.

Most of the outdoor and indoor animal exhibits are open during the event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

My recommendation? When it’s chilly outside, our family makes a b-line for the bats.

The RainForest is just past the main box office across from the main entrance of the Zoo. As you enter the freezing temps outside melt into the balmy climes of the rainforest. We usually spend a few minutes ‘oohing’ and ‘ahhing’ at the various primates there like Golden Lion Tamarins, Pied Tamarins and White Fronted Marmosets and follow the trail beyond a 25-foot waterfall right towards the Fruit Bat exhibit.




Orangutan at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

There are around 36 fruit bats seemingly hanging from their toes (I know, I know, my kids will tell me they’re not really their “toes” mom, they’re feet).




Fruit Bats at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Once we’ve heated up in the tropics we’re ready to brave the cold once again. Besides the regular exhibits, look for special event indoor activities. At the Zoo’s Administation building, check out a Professor Wylde’s Live Animal Show, featuring birds, reptiles and small mammals.




Noon Year's Eve at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

There are also places where your kiddos can make crafts, which are appropriately themed for the holiday. Yes, your kids can even make New Year’s ReZOOlutions.




Noon Year's Eve at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Coax them back outside for the ball drop on the 15-foot video screen, by joining the crowd dancing along until noon.




Noon Year's Eve at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

From now until 12/31, zoo admission is discounted (parking is free). They are also currently offering a Buy One Adult Admission Ticket, Get One Free through 3/5/17. The BOGO offer can be downloaded/printed at clevelandmetroparks.com/winterfun and redeemed at the Zoo’s Box Office.

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