WASHINGTON (Sept. 10, 2010)—National Geographic Kids is hosting five World Animal Day events this year in partnership with four U.S. and Canadian zoos and aquariums and the National Geographic Museum for the third annual North American World Animal Day celebration. The series of kid-friendly events will take place mid-September through October, centered on World Animal Day on Monday, Oct. 4.
On-site activities at participating venues include hands-on demonstrations and interactive opportunities introducing kids ages 2-12 to the natural world, drawing on content from National Geographic Kids magazine and popular characters from two of National Geographic Kids Entertainment’s animated preschool properties, “Mama Mirabelle’s Home Movies” and “Toot & Puddle.” For the first time, National Geographic also has made it possible for kids to celebrate World Animal Day online by discovering the fun and adventure of National Geographic Animal Jam (www.animaljam.com). This new virtual animal playground lets kids have fun by transforming themselves into their favorite animals as they discover science and nature through National Geographic’s vast multimedia resources. National Geographic Animal Jam is this year’s presenting sponsor of the World Animal Day events.
“Over the past two years, National Geographic has partnered with local zoos and aquariums across the United States and Canada to build World Animal Day into a special event that kids and their families can share and enjoy,” said Darren Metzger, director, franchise marketing, NG Kids Entertainment. “We’re pleased to bring back past participants and welcome new ones into the fold, as we bring National Geographic Kids content to new audiences. This year’s activities go further in inviting kids to learn more about the animal kingdom as some of National Geographic’s most fascinating and knowledgeable wildlife experts join our World Animal Day events to create an even livelier and more enriching experience.”
National Geographic explorers and wildlife experts will participate in photography and wildlife enrichment workshops, alongside zoo animals and their keepers. National Geographic Museum will highlight World Animal Day with an event from National Geographic Live, featuring two animal-themed exhibits, “Geckos: Tails to Toepads” and “Wild Music: Sounds & Songs for Life.” World Animal Day photo workshops and admission to the zoos, aquariums and “Geckos” exhibit at the National Geographic Museum require paid admission; all other activities and National Geographic Museum events, including the “Wild Music” exhibit, are free.
National Geographic World Animal Day activities at participating venues include craft zones for kids; book readings; special screenings of “Mama Mirabelle’s Home Movies” and “Toot & Puddle”; and computer kiosks where kids can create their own animal avatars, test their animal trivia and learn more about animal habitats in National Geographic Animal Jam. The events will conclude with a parade and cupcake ceremony celebrating all of our animal friends.
National Geographic World Animal Day venues are:
- Baltimore Aquarium (Sunday, Sept. 12), featuring Greg Marshall
- Dallas Zoo (Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 18-19), featuring Mark Moffett
- Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo (Saturday, Oct. 2), featuring Mireya Mayor
- Toronto Zoo (Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 2-3), featuring Greg Marshall
- National Geographic Museum, Washington, D.C. (Saturday, Oct. 16), featuring Greg Marshall
Primatologist, Fulbright Scholar and Emmy-nominated television correspondent Mireya Mayor is a featured host on the new Nat Geo Wild network. She has reported to audiences worldwide on wildlife and habitat issues. Closest to her heart is her ongoing study of a newfound species of Microcebus, or mouse lemur, which she discovered on a 2000 field expedition in Madagascar. Her work with this rare primate inspired Madagascar to establish a national park to help protect the new species, conserving the 10 percent that remains of the African island nation’s once vast forest.
Author and insect expert Mark Moffett (“Adventures Among Ants”) has written or photographed more than two dozen articles for National Geographic magazine. He is a modern-day explorer with more than a little luck on his side, having accidentally sat on the world’s deadliest snake, battled drug lords with dart guns and scrambled up a tree to escape bull elephants. For him such risks are worth it, as part of his mission to find stories that make people fall in love with the unexpected: insects, frogs and other of nature’s small wonders.
Biologist and filmmaker Greg Marshall has revolutionized marine biology through the use of his patented Crittercam, an attachable, recordable device that films animal behavior in the wild. For more than 20 years, National Geographic Crittercam has produced breathtaking glimpses into the world of 30 marine species, from great white sharks and sperm whales to seals and sea turtles. His work with emperor penguins can be seen in the documentary “March of the Penguins.”
Additional promotional consideration for National Geographic World Animal Day is provided by Homewood Suites.
“Mama Mirabelle’s Home Movies” currently airs in the United States on PBS KIDS Sprout and in Canada on TVO, TFO and Knowledge Network. “Toot & Puddle” airs in the United States on Nick Jr. and in Canada on Treehouse TV and TFO.
“Mama Mirabelle’s Home Movies” stars Vanessa Williams (“Ugly Betty”) as the voice of Mama Mirabelle. The weekly half-hour show introduces preschoolers to the animal kingdom through stunning wildlife footage from the National Geographic archive and helps kids learn about themselves and the world around them. For more information, visit www.mamamirabelle.com.
“Toot & Puddle” encourages exploration and adventure, both at home and afar, by piquing kids’ natural curiosity about the world around them. Based on the best-selling book series by author Holly Hobbie, “Toot & Puddle” is the heart-warming story of two best friends from Pocket Hollow, who find adventure wherever they go. For more about “Toot & Puddle,” visit www.tootandpuddle.com.
About National Geographic Animal Jam
With the launch of National Geographic Animal Jam, National Geographic for the first time is offering content from its extensive multimedia resources as an integrated component
of a virtual world for young adventurers and their families. Players can access video features, photos and facts about animals, plants and insects in a game world that encourages them to move from the virtual to the natural world by exploring nature right in their own neighborhood or backyard. National Geographic Animal Jam was developed through a collaboration of talents from National Geographic, one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations, and Smart Bomb Interactive, a fast-growing developer of cutting-edge and age-appropriate video games for kids. For more information about National Geographic Animal Jam National Geographic Animal Jam, visit www.animaljam.com.
About National Geographic Kids Entertainment
National Geographic Kids Entertainment (NGKE) is an independent production and distribution entity of National Geographic Ventures. Established in 2003, NGKE brings the renowned National Geographic brand to children’s entertainment through the development and production of quality animated and live-action, entertainment-driven programming that excites kids to explore their world. NGKE will work with all major broadcast outlets. For more information about National Geographic, visit www.nationalgeographic.com.