Donated Christmas trees help Wild Adventures animals

Published: Dec. 27, 2018 at 6:25 PM EST
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By: Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News

December 27, 2018

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- Christmas has come and gone, and now Wild Adventures is offering a new use for old Christmas trees.

Through this Sunday, Wild Adventures is hosting its 'Bring a Tree, Get in Free' event. Guests can receive one free admission ticket by bringing in Christmas trees.

The trees are then used for entertainment and enrichment for the large animals, like tigers, lions, elephants and rhinos.

"Enrichment is incredibly important for all of our animals, and this is a really unique kind of enrichment," said Adam Floyd with Wild Adventures. "It's not too often that our elephants, our tigers, our lions get to see Christmas trees and spend time with them, so it's just a unique, fun opportunity for them to have."

The donation drive is part of a partnership with Keep Valdosta/Lowndes Beautiful. Many of the trees around the park will be donated as part of the 'Bring One for the Chipper' event to be used as mulch and landscaping around the park.

This is the first year Wild Adventures will be taking donations for the animals.

"When you first put the Christmas tree out here not too long ago, you see their immediate reaction was of curiosity and wonder, they really wanted to see what this new kind of object is they've never seen before was all about," Floyd said. "It's really fun and interesting to see how they interact with it."

The Christmas tree donation is going on through Sunday, which is the last day the park is open for the season.

Throughout the off-season, crews will continue to make progress on the new alligator attraction. The expansion will feature the Kids' Discovery Post and several alligator attractions, like Alligator Alley.

The added space is part of a $2.5 million investment in the park, and is expected to be ready when it reopens in March.