Posts Tagged ‘Good Zoo at Oglebay’

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 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 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

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

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 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

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:”


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.

Labor Day Weekend Activities at Oglebay include Symphony Performance with Fireworks and Drool in the Pool Dog Swim

Oglebay Drool in the Pool Labor Day Celebration

“Drool in the Pool” returns this year to close out the Labor Day weekend activities on Mon, Sept 1 from 4 to 6 p.m. Other favorites returning for the Labor Day weekend are Wheeling Symphony’s “Music Under the Stars,” Fort Henry Days, the Woodcarver’s Show & inflatable rides. Fireworks will follow the symphony’s concert on Sun Aug 31.

An exciting Labor Day Weekend Celebration is planned at Oglebay on Saturday, August 30, Sunday, August 31 and Monday, September 1.  “The most-anticipated event, Wheeling Symphony’s free performance, ‘Music Under the Stars’, will take place on Sunday,” said John Hargleroad, Director of Operations for the Wheeling Park Commission.  The Wheeling Symphony’s performance begins at 7:30 p.m.  and a brilliant fireworks display will take place at the amphitheater at the conclusion of the symphony.


A Labor Day weekend favorite, “Fort Henry Days”, returns to Levenson Shelter/Site One at Oglebay on Saturday, and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. until 5 p.m. on both days.  A battle reenactment will be held at Camp Russel at 3:00 p.m. on both days.


The Oglebay Woodcarver’s Show, another long-time favorite Labor Day event, will be held at the Pine Room on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The show features sales, demonstrations and exhibits.


Hargleroad noted that there is no admission to the Wheeling Symphony performance, Fort Henry Days and the Woodcarver’s Show, although donations are appreciated at the Woodcarver’s Show.


Inflatable rides and a rock-climbing wall will be at the Schenk Lake area on Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. each day.


Daily Activity Wristbands will be available at the Good Zoo and Visitors Center all three days. The wristbands provide all day use at the Par III Golf, Good Zoo and Train Ride, Miniature Golf, Pedal Boats, Fishing, Outdoor Pool, Tennis, Glass Museum, Trolley, and the Mansion Museum. The wristbands are $16.00 each plus applicable fees and taxes.  One free ride on the inflatable rides is included with the purchase of a wristband.


“The Labor Day Weekend is a great time to visit the Good Zoo and see the Dinosaur Exhibit before it goes extinct!” said Penny Miller, Director of the Good Zoo. This special exhibit includes life-sized dinosaurs that move and roar.


The zoo opens daily at 10:00 a.m. and admission to the zoo is $9.00 for non-member adults and $5.75 for ages 3-12.  Zoo members and ages 2 and under are free.


“Drool in the Pool” at the Oglebay Outdoor pool will return this year on Monday, September 1 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.  “Dogs, like humans, can enjoy the refreshing water and exercise a public pool provides and many areas across the country allow dogs to swim in a public pool after the pool season is over,” said Hargleroad.  “We are excited to offer this special dog swim when the outdoor pool closes for the season on Monday at 4:00 p.m.” There is no admission to “Drool in the Pool” and all dogs participating in the swim must have proof of a current rabies vaccination, and one human, aged 16 and above, is permitted in the pool with one dog.  See below for additional rules for Drool in the Pool:

  1. All owners must have proof of their dog’s current Rabies vaccination.
  2. All dogs must be current on all other vaccinations: Parvovirus (CPV), Canine distemper virus (CDV), Canine adenovirus (CAV).
  3. One human is permitted in the pool with one dog.
  4. No human swimming – wading only.
  5. No one under 16 may wade in the pool.
  6. Participants who are pregnant or have compromised immune systems may not enter the pool.
  7. No dogs or humans with open wounds may enter the pool.
  8. Activity is confined to the shallow end of the pool.
  9. Owners are responsible for any and all accidents and injury to their own dog.
  10. Vicious or aggressive dogs may be required to leave.
  11. Retractable leashes are not permitted.
  12. Dogs must be clean and brushed before entering the pool.
  13. Owners must pick up their dog’s waste.
  14. Participants must bath after the event.

Memorial Day Weekend Celebration at Oglebay

The Memorial Day Weekend marks the start of summer activities at Oglebay and John Hargleroad, Director of Operations, says that all the Oglebay facilities will be open beginning Friday, May 23 with some special activities planned for the Memorial Day weekend.


Schenk Lake at Oglebay

Aqua Cycles and pedal boats will be one of the many activities available at Schenk Lake at Oglebay during the Memorial Day weekend. Inflatable rides and Doozy the Clown will also be at the lake Saturday, May 24 through Monday, May 26.

“The always-popular inflatable rides will be at the Schenk Lake area on Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. and Doozy the Clown will also be at the lake area all three days from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.,” said Hargleroad.


Oglebay will begin offering daily activity wristbands on Friday, May 23.  The wristbands are available at the Good Zoo and Visitors Center through Labor Day and provide all day use at the Par III Golf, Good Zoo and Train Ride, Miniature Golf, Pedal Boats, Fishing, Outdoor Pool, Tennis, Glass Museum, Trolley, and the Mansion Museum. “The wristbands will also provide one admission to the inflatable rides this weekend,” reminded Hargleroad. The wristbands are $16.00 each plus applicable fees and taxes.


New this year is a United States Flag Retirement Ceremony at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, May 26.  “The special ceremony will be conducted by American Legion Post #1 and the public is encouraged to bring US flags that are no longer serviceable to the ceremony,” said Hargleroad. The American Legion will ensure that the flags are properly disposed of with honor at a later date.


“It is interesting to note that American Legion Post #1 in Wheeling was the first American Legion Post established in the United States,” added Hargleroad.  The Post was established by an act of congress in 1919.


The Memorial Day Weekend is also a great time to catch up with old friends at the Good Zoo and check out what’s new including the Dinosaur exhibit with all-new dinosaurs. “These lifelike dinosaurs are fitted with electric brains so they move and roar,” said Penny Miller, Director of the Good Zoo.   Miller said most of the dinosaurs can be discovered in the woods near the Australian Exhibit but a couple of the dinosaurs are located in other areas of the zoo.


Dinosaurs at the Good Zoo at Oglebay

An all-new display of lifelike dinosaurs has arrived at the Good Zoo and will greet zoo visitors throughout the Memorial Day weekend.

“The Edmontonia has claimed the top of the wetlands waterfall as his prehistoric perch for the summer and the Suchomimus is located in the Wetlands,” added Miller. For a close up view of the Edmontonia Miller suggested a train ride but the creature can be seen and heard from the Wetlands.


The zoo is also accepting entries for the third annual “Capture the Wild” photography contest.  “We have had a great response to our photography contests and are looking forward to this year’s entries,” said Miller.  “We’ll be awarding some great prizes!” Contest rules and entry forms are available on the zoo’s website.


Miller also added that the zoo’s Animal Encounters programs are getting more and more popular.  “This program allows guests to get into animal exhibits with the keepers to help feed and train some of the zoo’s animals including the lemurs, red pandas, river otters and kangaroos.” said Miller. The encounters must be scheduled in advance by calling 304-243-4030.


The Good Zoo is open daily at 10 am. Admission is $9.00 for adults, $5.75 for ages 3-12, and ages 2 & under and members are free.


The popular Segway Tours have also returned for another season.  “Join our friendly guides for an exciting tour on a high tech personal transporter,” said Hargleroad.  “It’s a great way to experience the picturesque natural beauty of Oglebay.” The tours begin at Schenk Lake at 10:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Reservations for Segway Tours can be made by calling 304-243-4090.


Amphitheater at Oglebay

The Summer Sunday Entertainment Series at the Amphitheater begins Sunday, May 25 with the Hit Play Band. A different band will be featured every Sunday through Labor Day.

The Hit Play Band will present a free concert at the Anne Kuchinka Amphitheater on Sunday from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.  “This performance is the beginning of the Summer Sunday Entertainment Series featuring a different band every Sunday through Labor Day at the amphitheater,” added Hargleroad. The entire summer’s schedule is available on the Oglebay website.


“For those who want to celebrate the weekend with an all-American picnic, many beautiful picnic sites are available at Oglebay and can be reserved by calling 304-243-4010,” added Hargleroad.


The Seafood Gala is available at the Ihlenfeld Dining Room at Wilson Lodge on Friday evening and the new Chop House featuring apple-smoked Prime Rib, is offered on Saturday evening.  For dining reservations call 304-243-4080.


For more information on all activities at Oglebay visit

Master Naturalist Classes at the Good Zoo

Releasing a tagged monarch butterfly

The beautiful Monarch butterfly is one of the species covered in the Master Naturalist program at the Good Zoo. The program is open to area residents interested in learning more about birds, trees, wildflower identification, and all manner of other nature topics.

Any area residents interested in learning more about birds, trees, wildflower identification, and all manner of other nature topics can sign up now for Master Naturalist classes beginning Saturday, February 22 at the Good Zoo and scheduled through mid May.  Local columnist Dr Scott Shalaway will teach WV Birds. The four hour class discusses bird biology, identification and back-yard feeding.  Popular returning instructor Dr Zac Loughman from West Liberty University will also teach that day, offering General Ecology, an introductory class to the Master Naturalist program. Names and Identification will be taught March 22 by zoo director Penny Miller, instructing students how to use field guides, internet resources, keys, and other resources to identify plants and animals seen in nature.   Other spring classes include Creating Backyard Habitats March 2nd by Dr Candy DeBerry, and three additional classes taught by Loughman: Terrestrial Habitats; Aquatic Habitats; and Wetlands Habitats. Local expert Bill Beatty will teach Wildflowers and Weeds, and Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines. The first elective class A Tiny Tick Made Me Sick is about avoiding everything from poison ivy rashes, to snake bite while in the woods, taught by Penny Miller.


Students can pick and choose classes at their own pace and may take up to three years to complete the program, but it is possible to finish in one year. Classes cost just $6 per hour of instruction. Classes are held at the zoo on Saturdays and Sundays and often involve walks in the woods and occasional field trips to a farm pasture, wetlands or streams. The curriculum was developed by the West Virginia Division of Wildlife to develop citizen scientists and naturalists across the state.


There are 14 required classes such as Mammals; Trees; Wildflowers;  Backyard Habitat Improvement, Insects, and 10 others, and a variety of electives to choose from including Box turtles; CSI: Citizen Science Investigator; Monarch Butterflies; Nature Photography;  Invasive Species, and many more. Instructors include Good Zoo staff, West Virginia Division of Wildlife biologists and area college professors. Students are all nature lovers and represent a wide range of ages and backgrounds from college students, teachers, scout leaders, farmers, fisherman, to retired folks and nature photographers.


“Anyone of any age or background fits into the group, you just have to be a nature lover,” said Vickie Markey-Tekely, the zoo’s curator of education.


Student Daniel Caron said, “The program is a fun and interesting way to learn about nature.  I enjoy the program’s interactive, hands-on format.  The classes teach me to see something different every time I step outside.  This has helped me when working in my own backyard and everywhere I travel.”


“This is our 11th year, and many of our students participate in several backyard bird projects, put up bluebird boxes, survey and report frog calls, raise and tag monarch butterflies, and improve their garden and property  to attract wildlife,” said Penny Miller, zoo director. Others like to help out at state or zoo wildlife events, or pass on their knowledge to children. “I enjoy teaching my grandkids and neighbors about the monarch butterflies I rear and tag,” said certified Master Naturalist Carol Saseen.


For dates, times, and an application please visit the Master Naturalist section at or call Vickie Markey-Tekely at 304-243-4033 or Penny Miller at 304-243-4027.