West Liberty University Announces Good Zoo Partnership and New Degree Program

West Liberty University & Good Zoo Partnership

West Liberty University President Stephen Greiner, left, and Wheeling Park Commission President and CEO Stephen Hilliard, announce a new partnership that offers students a dynamic new major. Graduates of the program will earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology with a Zoo Science major and will be prepared to work in the field of accredited zoo and aquarium management.

Students interested in wildlife and science now have a new option at West Liberty University. In partnership with the Good Zoo at Oglebay, WLU’s College of Sciences has developed an innovative curriculum for zoo sciences.

“We are excited to partner with Oglebay Resort and work with its Good Zoo to offer students a dynamic new major. Now students interested in zoo careers will be able to learn from one of the best zoos in the region. We are grateful for the cooperation and work that went into making this new major a reality,” said WLU President Stephen Greiner at a 10 a.m. press conference held today at the Good Zoo.

Graduates of the new program will earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology with a Zoo Science major and will be prepared to work in the field of accredited zoo and aquarium management.

“We are always pleased to work with West Liberty University to foster future talent and are especially excited about this opportunity to provide students with real-life projects. This program offers a fresh approach that will not only enhance the students’ educational experience but also benefit the Good Zoo visitors and staff,” said Wheeling Park Commission President and CEO Stephen Hilliard.

The Good Zoo at Oglebay Resort was dedicated in memory of seven-year-old Phillip Mayer Good in 1977 with a mission to educate visitors regarding natural and physical sciences and to promote conservation. The zoo has 70 species, more than 20 of them rare or endangered, and is West Virginia’s only AZA-accredited zoo.

“We are proud to host one of only four zoo science bachelor degree majors in the United States at West Liberty and to collaborate with one of the top zoological institutions in the country. Our partnership with the Good Zoo makes our major unique. Students in the program will be exposed to hands-on, applied learning opportunities by receiving training and working with zoo and conservation center professionals and participating in current wildlife conservation research,” said Dr. Joe Greathouse, assistant professor of biology.

Greathouse joined WLU this past August. He formerly worked for The Wilds, a private, non-profit safari park and conservation center and before that he was curator of animals at Good Zoo.

“This opportunity will make the learning environment for our students unlike anywhere else in the country,” said Dr. Zac Loughman, associate professor of biology and 2014 West Virginia Professor of the Year.

Loughman also maintains an internationally known crayfish research laboratory and both Greathouse and Loughman are co-directors of the new program.

Some of the hands-on opportunities include a 10-week summer internship between the sophomore and junior year of study at an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited zoo.

Students also must volunteer in animal labs at the university and, during the junior and senior year of study, they must complete two semesters interning at the Good Zoo.

“This is a unique major and we are very excited to offer it to our biology students. The field of zoo keepers, curators and other zoological professions is growing and West Liberty University’s College of Sciences is proud to be a part of it,” said Dean Dr. Robert Kreisberg, who leads the College of Sciences.

The College of Sciences includes the departments of Health Sciences, Natural Science and Mathematics and the Physician Assistant program.

For complete information on the new zoo science major, please visit westliberty.edu/zoosci or call Greathouse at 304-336-8865 or Loughman at 304-336-8923, or email the program at zoosci@westliberty.edu.

Good Zoo Announces New Meerkat Name & Winter Pre-School Programs

Meerkat born at Oglebay Good Zoo

The Good Zoo at Oglebay announced that the new meerkat born at the zoo on October 22 has been named Rafiki.

The Good Zoo at Oglebay announced today that the new meerkat born at the zoo on October 22 has been named Rafiki.  The zoo provided five names to vote on through Oglebay’s Facebook page and Rafiki received 63% of the votes.

“Rafiki, means ‘friend’ in Swahili, so I think it is a great name,” said Mindi White, Curator of Animals.   “We currently have four meerkats: Nala, Banga, Suri, and now Rafiki, at the meerkat exhibit in the main building at the zoo.”

White explained that meerkats live in groups called mobs and that they take turns watching for danger, digging burrows, foraging for food, and even babysitting.  “Our mob can be observed performing their natural behaviors of foraging, digging in the sand, scent marking, soaking up some sun, or being sentry (guard) in the windowsill,” said White.

The Good Zoo is currently open Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. The zoo is open on New Year’s Eve from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and on New Year’s Day from 1:00 to 8:00 p.m.  Admission is $8.95 for adults and $5.75 for ages 3 through 12.  Ages 2 and under and zoo members are admitted free.  The Light and Music Extravaganza and the Winter Fantasies LASER Show are included with admission.  The zoo will close for public visitation on January 4 but will remain open for membership sales, scheduled education programs and birthday parties. Call 304-243-4030.

The zoo also announced its winter pre-school programs.  “Each pre-school class includes games, stories, songs, activities and of course, live animals,” said Vickie Markey-Tekely, Education Curator for the zoo. “These programs are designed for two to four year olds and a parent or guardian to explore nature and wildlife together.”

January’s classes include Winter Wonderland on January 20 or 23 and Are You Afraid of the Dark on January 27 or 30. Cost is $15.00 for zoo members, $19.00 for non-members and the fees include one child and up to two adults.  Additional siblings are $5.00 each and a discount is available for multiple program attendance. Registration forms and the complete pre-school schedule are available online at www.oglebay-resort.com/goodzoo.

Oglebay Good Zoo Releases Rehabilitated Bald Eagle

Rehabilitated Bald Eagle Released

A wild bald eagle was released by the Good Zoo staff after spending 4 weeks at the zoo for rehabilitation.

After spending four weeks at the Good Zoo for rehabilitation, a wild bald eagle was released by the zoo staff on August 14.

“When the juvenile eagle was brought to the zoo in July by our local conservation officer, the bird was severely emaciated, only weighing 5.6lbs, and was very dehydrated,” said zoo animal curator Mindi White. “The eagle was barely standing and could not keep its head up, and the staff at the zoo immediately started fluid therapy.”

Zoo veterinarians completed a thorough examination and the tests revealed no broken bones or gunshot. The West Niles and Avian Influenza tests were also negative.

Bald Eagle, Day One of Rehab

When the juvenile bald eagle was brought to the Good Zoo by the local conservation officer, the bird was severely emaciated, only weighing 5.6lbs, and was very dehydrated.

“Luckily the eagle was strong enough, after a couple rounds of fluid therapy, to eat on its own,” said White. “We needed to be careful to not over feed at the beginning since the eagle was so skinny and its stomach was small. We cut the food into pieces because the eagle, even though strong enough to eat, could not tear the food or swallow it whole. The eagle continued to eat well and the staff was happy to see the bird getting stronger and stronger each day.”

Once to an ideal weight the eagle was given live fish, proving it could hunt, and the eagle was taken to the zoo’s outdoor flight cage.

Rehabilitating a raptor takes time and lots of effort. White estimates that more than 60 hours was spent with the bald eagle in the month that it was at the zoo. “Two veterinarians, two animal care managers and two animal care keepers worked with the eagle,” said White. “The eagle gained nearly four pounds while in our care and we had to be sure that it was hunting and flying like it should before it could be released.”

The Good Zoo is licensed for raptor rehabilitation and has seen many hawks, owls, and a handful of bald eagles. “Since bald eagles are protected, when an eagle comes into the rehab program special permission has to be granted to rehabilitate that specific bird,” explained White. “In a year, we have close to 300 individual raptors come through our program. The goal is always to release the birds, but injuries sometimes are so severe that the raptors need to be placed in an accredited institution.”

Bald eagle after 4 weeks of rehabilitation

After 4 weeks at the Good Zoo the eagle was ready for release, weighing 9 pounds, and hunting and flying properly.

The Good Zoo’s collection currently includes a red-tailed hawk and barred owl that could not be released. The zoo also has a bald eagle at the wetlands exhibit that was rehabbed in Washington State. “The eagle’s wing was broken and she could not be released,” said White. “She is a juvenile so our visitors will have the amazing opportunity to watch her mature and change into her iconic white head.

Good Zoo memberships and monetary donations help cover the cost of rehabilitating local raptors and fund other conservation programs. The zoo opens daily at 10:00 a.m. and admission to the zoo is $8.95 for non-member adults and $5.75 for ages 3-12. Zoo members and ages 2 and under are free.

Good Zoo Youngsters Growing Up Fast

Grevy's Zebra and her foal

The Grevy’s Zebra foal was born in September 2013.

They are still young, but they don’t look like it! The Good Zoo babies are starting to look like adults.

The Grevy’s zebra foal, Jamila, is going to be 2 years old in September. She still loves to hang out with her mom, Samburu, and can often be seen galloping and playing in the field. Jamila’s brown stripes have all now turned black, so the only way to tell the difference between the mares is their size. Samburu is still much larger than Jamila.

African Wild Dogs at Oglebay Good Zoo

The African Wild Dogs pups were born in June 2014.

The zoo’s African Wild Dog Pack celebrated the pups 1st birthday on June 23rd. All three pups, Mikumi, Akili, and Shaba, are almost the exact same size of their parents. Their behavior is the quickest way to identify the three crazy pups. They love to ‘stalk’ each other to hone their hunting skills and are often seen chasing each other around the tree or den.

Golden Lion Tamarins at the Oglebay Good Zoo

Golden Lion Tamarins were born in February 2015.

The Golden Lion Tamarins born at the Good Zoo are now 6 months old! The twin boys are doing great and the family could not be happier. The twins still are slightly smaller than their brothers and parents. The easiest way to find the newest twins is to look for the ones hanging upside down or wrestling on the vines.

Be sure to come see these rare and endangered youngsters!

Good Zoo at Oglebay Offers Exclusive Safari to Tanzania

Penny Miller from the Good Zoo at Oglebay visit with the Massai on a zoo sponsored safari.

The Good Zoo is offering an exclusive safari to Tanzania that will include some of the best wildlife spotting on the continent. The safari is November 2 to November 13, 2015 and an informative meeting will be held at the Good Zoo on Sunday, June 7 at 1:30 p.m. to answer questions.

The Good Zoo is offering an exclusive safari to Tanzania, East Africa. The trip will be escorted by Zoo Curator Mindi White, and retired zoo director Penny Miller. The safari runs from November 2 to November 13, 2015, with an optional extension to Zanzibar.  “This trip is a treasure trove of wildlife and culture. It’s the “bucket list,” trip of a lifetime for any wildlife lover, birdwatcher or photographer,” White said.


This exclusive safari will cover unforgettable spots including the unique eco-system of Ngorongoro Crater, the vast savannahs of the Serengeti, and the flamingo-lined shores of Lake Manyara.  “We will be watching elephant, zebra, wildebeest, impala, giraffe, lions, black rhinos, cheetah, hyena, jackal, and warthog, along with over 100 species of birds, ans searching for the elusive leopard,” White said. “Some of these species are highly endangered and disappearing at an alarming rate,” she added.  The trip will also include a visit to Olduvai Gorge where the roots of modern man were unearthed by the Leakeys, plus a visit to a Maasai village.


The Good Zoo is offering an exclusive safari to Tanzania that will include some of the best wildlife spotting on the continent “Hands down, this safari destination and itinerary is my favorite of all we have offered,” said Miller, who had been to Africa 10 times. She has led previous zoo safaris to Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia, and recently returned from a wildlife-themed tour of Cuba. “Our naturalist guide Robert Marks Moshi was born a Massai, and has been our guide on our other Tanzania trips. Our travelers just love him; he is an expert on the wildlife and the Massai culture and his stories add a whole new dimension to the safari.”  Miller added that this safari is unusual in that there will be three seasoned zoo professionals on the trip, and one of the zoo’s adult volunteers, a retired college professor who has led his own trips to Africa.



An informative meeting will be held at the Good Zoo on Sunday, June 7 at 1:30 p.m. The meeting will include photographs of past trips, discussion of the itinerary, packing tips and provide answers to all questions. For reservations or more information visit www.oglebay-resort.com/goodzoo or contact Mindi White at 304-243-4029, or Penny Miller at 304-238-3215.

Endangered Species “Vanishing” at the Good Zoo at Oglebay

AZA SAFE: Saving Animals from Extinction To help raise awareness of the work the Good Zoo is doing to save animals from extinction and to highlight the public’s role in saving species, members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), which includes the Good Zoo, are coming together in a variety of ways to help the public consider what it would be like to not be able to see, learn from or connect with these incredible animals again.


On Friday, May 15, 2015, the 10th Anniversary of Endangered Species Day, several of the Good Zoo’s endangered species will be highlighted including a special presentation on the future of the Spectacled Bear.


Stan Myers, an adult volunteer at the Good Zoo, will be at the Spectacled Bear and Otter Exhibit beginning at 10:00 a.m.  “Throughout the day Stan will be explaining the status of Spectacled Bears in the world today and how they are on the brink of extinction,” said Mindi White, Curator of Animals for the Good Zoo.


Black and green ribbons will be placed on various exhibits at the zoo. “The black will signify endangered/threatened/species of concern and the green ribbons will signify some type of ‘success’’, said White.


“Our success stories include our African wild dog pups, our Golden Lion Tamarin babies and our raptor rehab,” White explained. “We will have a small graphic to go along with each ribbon with facts and information.  The ribbons will remain up through the weekend.


The zoo will also feature a Grevy’s Zebra video in the lobby to explain the plight of this species.


May 15 also marks the national launch of AZA SAFE: Saving Animals from Extinction (SAFE), said White. Through SAFE, for the first time, the entire AZA-accredited zoo and aquarium community will focus their conservation science, wildlife expertise, and 180 million annual visitors on saving species in the wild. In 2015, SAFE will focus on 10 species, to be announced.


This new collaboration builds on the existing conservation efforts by the 229 AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums. SAFE harnesses the collective power and infrastructure, along with additional funding and resources, to target specific endangered species and save them from extinction by restoring healthy populations in the wild. Through SAFE, AZA and its members will convene scientists and global stakeholders to identify factors threatening species, develop Conservation Action Plans, collect new resources and engage the public.


The Good Zoo is currently open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Admission is $8.95 for adults and $5.75 for ages 3 through 12. Children ages 2 and under and members are admitted free.  For more information call the Good Zoo office at 304-243-4030 or visit www.oglebay-resort.com/GoodZoo and join the online SAFE conversation via #savingspecies.




About AZA SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction

AZA SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction combines the power of zoo & aquarium visitors with the resources and collective expertise of zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums and partners to save animals from extinction. Together we are working on saving the most vulnerable wildlife species from extinction and protecting them for future generations. To learn more, visit AZAsavingspecies.org.

Rare Monkey Species Born at the Good Zoo

Twin golden lion tamarin monkeys born at the Good Zoo

Twin golden lion tamarin monkeys born at the Good Zoo at Oglebay in February hold on to their mother’s back as the father looks on. Golden lion tamarins from South America are classified as extremely endangered since it is estimated that only 1,500 remain in the wild.

The Good Zoo staff recently announced the birth of twin golden lion tamarin monkeys on February 17, 2015. “The entire family is on exhibit in the zoo’s Main Building and include father Rio, mother Carmen, two-year-old twins Vasco and Tupi, one-year-old old twins Candido and Godoi, and the two newest additions” said Mindi White, Curator of Animals.


Golden lion tamarins are endangered primates from South America that typically live in small groups.  “All members of the group help care for the infants and take turns carrying them,” said White. “Since the twins can weigh up to 20% of the mother’s weight it helps her tremendously to have help from the rest of the group.  Younger animals also benefit from the experience when it comes time to raise their own offspring.”


The Good Zoo tamarins are part of a cooperative global breeding program among zoos across the U.S. “The wild population in Brazil has been severely impacted by deforestation with less than 5% of suitable habitat remaining.  Golden lion tamarins are classified as extremely endangered; scientists estimate a wild population of only 1,500 tamarins left in the wild,” said White.  Tamarins born in U.S. zoos have successfully been released in the wild for restocking efforts.


“The zoo staff received a breeding recommendation in 2013 from the Golden Lion Tamarin Species Survival Plan and has worked hard with zoo colleagues around the country to develop the optimum conditions to breed this rare species at the Good Zoo,” added White.


Capture the Wild Photography Contest at the Good Zoo

Winner of last year’s Capture the Wild Photography Contest featured a Hummingbird Moth by Marge Kuzma. This year’s contest runs through August 1, 2015.

The Good Zoo is currently open Saturday and Sunday only, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and admission is $8.95 for adults, $5.75 for ages 3-12, and free to members and ages 2 and under. Lorikeet Landing will open March 14, weather permitting, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday Sunday. The zoo will be open daily beginning April 1.


The 4th Annual Capture the Wild Photography Contest started March 1.  “Nature photography is a wonderful way for kids and adults to appreciate nature in all of it strange and beautiful forms,” said White. Entries are due by August 1, 2015.


For more information on all activities at the zoo call the zoo office at 304-243-4100 or visit http://www.oglebay-resort.com/goodzoo/index.htm.

Good Zoo at Oglebay Offers Preview of Wildlife Trip to East Africa

The Good Zoo at Oglebay is offering an African safari to Tanzania, East Africa in November of 2015

The Good Zoo is offering an African safari to Tanzania, East Africa in November of 2015. The trip will include some of the best wildlife spotting on the continent. An informative meeting will be held at the Good Zoo on Sat., March 7 at 10 am to answer questions about the trip.

The Oglebay Good Zoo is presenting a free “Wildlife Adventure Travel Program” open to the public, on Saturday, March 7, 2015, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Good Zoo. The program will preview a unique, zoo-sponsored African safari to Tanzania, East Africa in November of 2015. The program features a detailed presentation about the trip, which are led by professional wildlife guides and accompanied by Good Zoo staff hosts.


The trip will focus on exploration of exceptional wildlife, plant life and ecosystems. Beautiful photographs from Tanzania will be shown by Penny Miller, an experienced African traveler and zoo host.


“This is truly a trip of a lifetime,” said Mindi White, Curator of Animals for the Good Zoo. “We love taking people to remote corners of the world to view wildlife up close, and to interact with local people. This trip is both a nature and cultural experience, and a photographer’s paradise.”


The travel presentation will discuss costs, itineraries, packing tips, and will include light refreshments and a question and answer time.

The Good Zoo at Oglebay is offering an African safari to Tanzania, East Africa in November of 2015

Beautiful photographs from Tanzania will be shown by Penny Miller, an experienced African traveler and zoo host, shown here on a previous trip.

“You will get to speak with people who have traveled on these trips in the past, so even if you are just mildly curious, please come to the presentation,” White added. “The trip is filling up fast, so please come and join our program!”


The Good Zoo requests an RSVP to White at 304-243-4029 or by email at mwhite@oglebay-resort.com. Trip details can also be found on the zoo’s website.

Long-Time Good Zoo Director to Retire

Good Zoo Director Penny Miller to Retire

Penny Miller, center, is retiring as the Director of the Good Zoo. She and Rod Haley, left, Vice President of Operations, and John Hargleroad, Director of Operations, proudly display the plaque announcing the zoo’s most recent accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

Penny Miller, Director of the Good Zoo at Oglebay, is set to retire on January 17, 2015. Miller has been director of the Good Zoo since 1994. She began her zoo career at the Pittsburgh Zoo Society in 1971, and in 1974 she moved to Oglebay to assist with construction of the new Good Zoo. As general curator for 15 years, Miller managed the animal collection and keeper staff, and the education department. Under Miller’s guidance the Good Zoo moved from a collection of common North American species to a concentration of breeding rare and endangered species from around the world. “The Good Zoo curators have produced more than 20 endangered red wolves pups; Grevy’s zebra, African Wild dogs, hundreds of hellbender salamanders, tamarin monkeys, and other rare and endangered species,” said Miller.


The Good Zoo was named in memory of Phillip Mayer Good, through the support of thousands of community residents and the Laurence Good Family of Wheeling. It is West Virginia’s only AZA accredited zoo.


“Conservation and education have always been keystones of Good Zoo mission,” said Miller “I believe the Good Zoo is a crucial community asset that connects children and adults to wildlife through interactive, changing animal exhibits, creative education programs for preschoolers through adults, and adventurous international wildlife travel.”


Miller has led Good Zoo trips to the Galapagos, several Eastern and Southern countries in Africa, and will be on the zoo’s November 2105 African safari to Tanzania. Miller also plans to continue teaching Master Naturalist classes including one in February. The Master Naturalist curriculum was developed by the West Virginia Division of Wildlife to develop citizen scientists and naturalists across the state, and classes are held throughout the year at the Good Zoo.


John Hargleroad, Director of Operations, said Miller’s contributions to the zoo are beyond measure. “How do you measure the many ways she changed the lives of guests, staff, interns and docents? Under her leadership a little zoo in Wheeling, West Virginia is helping to save over 20 endangered species and at the same time helping the public better understand and appreciate the diversity and importance of each species life,” said Hargleroad.


“Penny also spearheaded many creative and entertaining events including the Good Zoo Lights Up for You and Farm Days that have grown to become the Winter Festival of Lights, and also the Ohio County Country Fair,” Hargleroad continued. “It’s impossible to know many lives have been touched by those events.”


“While she will be missed by many, I suspect I will miss her the most,” added Hargleroad.

Online Tickets now Available for Boo at the Zoo

Boo at the Zoo at the Good Zoo at Oglebay

Ryan Auber (left) and Cody Auber are ready for Boo at the Zoo at the Oglebay Good Zoo on October 10-12, October 17-19 & October 24-26. Advance tickets will only be available online at www.oglebay-resort.com/goodzoo.

Boo at the Zoo, an annual fundraiser at the Oglebay Good Zoo, is three weekends: October 10 through 12, October 17 through 19 and October 24 through 26, and online tickets are now available for the popular event.


“Save time and money by purchasing your tickets online in advance of the event,” said Penny Miller, director of the Good Zoo.  “Online tickets will also be the fastest way to enter Boo at the Zoo.”


Miller added that no advance tickets will be sold at the Good Zoo.  “Advance tickets will only be available online at our website:  www.oglebay-resort.com/goodzoo.”


Miller also said that Sunday nights typically have the shortest wait time to get in the door and that visitors don’t need to bring treat bags or containers as the zoo staff will only put candy in the treat bags provided at the zoo.


Prices for Boo at the Zoo are $6.25 for advance online tickets.  Good Zoo members advance online tickets are $5.30.  Both advance ticket prices are plus tax and handling fees.  All tickets sold at the gate are $9.00 plus tax, and there is no member discount or any other discounts at the gate. The Spooky Special Halloween-themed train ride is $2.50 per ride. No advance sale tickets are available for the train ride.


Boo at the Zoo hours are 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday nights and 4:00 to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday nights.


“Put on your costume and join us for our annual Boo at the Zoo celebration!” said Miller.  “The event is the zoo’s largest and most important fundraiser to support the day to day operations of the Good Zoo, and a great opportunity to dress up and visit the zoo after dark! And remember, the Dinosaurs will be here so this year’s Boo at the Zoo will be extra special!” added Miller.