Skip to main content

South Salt Lake Journal

Have a wild time this summer at the Hogle Zoo

Jul 08, 2019 03:30PM ● By Christy Jepson

One of the 13 sculptures from the Washed Ashore traveling exhibit on display at Utah’s Hogle Zoo from now until Sept. 30. This exhibit hopes to promote and bring awareness to reducing, recycling and reusing plastic. (Photo credit: Hogle Zoo)

By Christy Jepson | [email protected]

To help beat summertime boredom, Utah’s Hogle Zoo offers several unique events and activities for all ages. There are events for the book lover, for families, for the adult crowd, for those who love to do yoga, and even an educational workshop for teachers. 

According to Erica Hansen, manager of community relations, the zoo has been trying to offer different activities in hopes to bring in more and different people. “The zoo has been looking at various ways to bring non-traditional zoo-going audiences to the zoo. Through our education offerings and special events, we’ve been able to target these different audiences,” Hansen said. 

So, if you haven’t done yoga near an elephant or participated in a book club led by a zoo staff member or painted a masterpiece at the zoo, now is your chance to do all that this summer at Utah’s Hogle Zoo. 

Here’s a look at the summertime events going on at the zoo: 

  • Zoo Family Night on Mondays: Every Monday night until Labor Day, get $5 off ticket prices after 5 p.m. The zoo stays open until 9 p.m. on Monday nights.  
  • The Zoo’s Book Club: Join staff from the zoo for a discussion of a zoo/conservation-type book each month. Light refreshments are served. The cost is $25 per person at the door. See their website for the list of books they will be reading and discussing throughout the summer.
  • Recycling classes: In this class, the zoo and Clever Octopus (Utah’s first and only creative reuse center) are combining efforts to share how plastics are effecting our waterways. In this family-oriented class, participants will meet some local animals that are affected by plastic pollution, take supplies home to help reduce the use of plastics, and create a reusable bag that is made out of recycled material. The dates for this event are July 8 or Aug. 10 from 6-7:30 p.m. Preregistration on the website is required. The cost is $20 per person/per session or $15 if you are a zoo member. 
  • Zoo Brew: This event is only for guests ages 21 and older. Guests can walk around the zoo in the evening, enjoy the free-flight bird show, a photo booth, animal training demonstrations and listen to live music. Bars with local brews and wine will be stationed throughout the zoo. The dates are July 17 and Aug. 14 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The cost is $18.95 per person (not including drinks). Valid ID is required for this event. 
  • Adult Paint Night at the Zoo: This creative class is for guests ages 18 and older and no painting experience is necessary to sign up. This step-by-step class is $35 per class/per person. The dates are: July 13 (painting bald eagles) from 6-8:30 p.m. or Aug. 3 (painting rhinos) from 6-8:30 p.m. All supplies are provided. Light refreshments are provided along with an up-close photo opportunity with a zoo animal ambassador. 
  • Try yoga at the zoo: Corepower Yoga Studios offers yoga classes at the zoo near a different exhibit every class and will include an animal ambassador visit. Each class is for ages 14 and older and costs $20 per person/per session. The yoga classes are held: July 2 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Elephant Lodge, July 6 from 8-9 a.m. at the Twiga Terrace, July 18 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Lions exhibit, and July 30 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Tidewater Cove. 
  • Teacher Conservation workshop: The Planting SEEd’s of Conservation workshop is for sixth-grade teachers. At this workshop, teachers will get ideas and lessons about how to connect the new SEEd standards with the natural world, specifically using the zoo’s science-based conservation programs. This one-day workshop is held July 25 from 8 a.m. -3 p.m. The cost is $20 per person.
  • Kids, Critters and Crafts: This activity is full of creativity and learning as children ages 6 to 11 learn about a featured animal, look at its habitat, enjoy a meet-and-greet with a zoo animal ambassador and make a craft to take home. The cost is $15 per person. The ticket price includes a snack, craft materials, an apron, a visit to the featured animal’s exhibit and an up-close photo opportunity with a zoo animal ambassador. The summer dates and themes are July 27 (Animal Planter) and Aug. 24 (Red Panda Piggybank). Each event is two hours long and begins at 10 a.m.  

Along with these summer events, zoo guests can see the traveling exhibit, Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea, created by Angela Haseltine Pozzi, a resident of Oregon and graduate of the University of Utah. This exhibit features 13 giant sea life sculptures created entirely from marine debris and trash collected from beaches on the Pacific Coast. The purpose of this exhibit is to promote reducing, reusing and recycling of plastic waste. 

Since plastic takes centuries to decompose, Pozzi wanted to raise awareness about the huge problem of plastic and how it affects the entire ecosystem. Since 2010, she has created multitudes of sea creatures from the ongoing supply of trash and debris that is collected in the ocean and on the beaches. She hopes by looking at her “trashy” art sculptures, people will become more aware of plastic pollution. This exhibit will be at the zoo until Sept. 30 and is included in regular zoo admission.

“Most everyone who sees this exhibit says, “That’s so cool! And then, ‘Wow that’s so sad!’ Both are true. The sculptures really are artistic and beautifully done. But when you pause to consider what you’re really looking at your heart sinks—it’s so hard to believe we’re doing this to our planet,” said Hansen. “Kids love getting up close to these exhibits to look for familiar objects—water bottles, bottle caps, action figures, and even a toilet seat.” 

Hogle Zoo opened in 1931, and sits on 42 acres and is home to 800 animals. Ticket prices are $18.95 for visitors ages 13-64, $16.95 for visitors 65 years and older, $14.95 for ages 3 to 12, and 2 and younger are free. Utah’s Hogle Zoo is located at 2600 Sunnyside Avenue. For more information, visit or call (801) 584-1700.