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Seniors invited to stroll around Como before park opens

Posted on 06 February 2018 by Calvin

Senior Strolls offered indoors and outdoors from 9-11am on the first Tuesday

 

By TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN
Seniors, take a stroll through Como Park Zoo & Conservatory before it opens to the public on the first Tuesday of each month.

Senior Strolls is a new, free program for the 55+ community that began in December 2017. It is funded through the Legacy Amendment.

“This new program is a great way to get active and social, with a little adult learning thrown in to spice it up!” said Como staff member Noah Petermeier.

Activities in a beautiful space
The goal of the program is to encourage the 55+ community to engage in physical, social, and mental health activities in a beautiful space.

“We leave it up to the individual to choose how they wish to spend the time,” explained Como staff member Matt Reinartz. “Whether they want to come and chat with a friend, walk for exercise, meditate, or chat with an interpreter and learn some new plant and animal information, the choice is up to each participant.”

Photo right: Interpreters stationed inside the Conservatory share information and answer questions about the specific gardens. (Photo submitted)

Enter through the Visitor Center main entrance during cold months. Doors open promptly at 9am and Como opens to the public at 10am. Participants may bring a caregiver who is not 55+.

Calmer atmosphere
“People enjoy having the space open to them before public hours,” remarked Petermeier. “We receive positive comments from folks excited to be here without the crowds, and talking to the interpreters on an adult level.”

In the cold winter months, participants take refuge in the Conservatory, getting exercise at a comfortable temperature while still seeing lush greenery and plants from all over the world. There is a place for guests to hang up their jackets.

When the weather warms up, and the snow and ice melt away, early entry will shift from the Conservatory to the zoo grounds. Those who participate will get to experience the zoo waking up as they leisurely stroll around the outdoor spaces.

Guided learning
Volunteer interpreters answer questions and share fun facts with visitors as they stroll through the grounds that are calmer in the mornings before Como officially opens.

Photo left: “We receive positive comments from folks excited to be here without the crowds, and talking to the interpreters on an adult level,” remarked Como staff member Noah Petermeier. (Photo submitted)

Interpreters stationed inside the Conservatory share information and answer questions about the specific gardens. “They will be able to help guide your learning as you stroll,” observed Reinartz.

Como volunteer services department members at one station field questions about how people can get involved and volunteer their time at Como for those who are interested.

Right now the program is geared towards individual learning, but as it evolves organizers may include more structured learning opportunities, according to Reinartz.

Como also offers adult classes that provide more in-depth knowledge about plants, animals, and conservation. Browse the education section of at www.comozooconservatory.org or the Facebook page under events. Upcoming morning programs for adults include Orchid Odyssey on Apr. 21, Primate Enrichment on June 16, Japanese Gardens on Aug. 25, and Big Cat Enrichment on Oct. 21.

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