By Kristy Kneiding

The Living Desert is commemorating the longest day of the year by celebrating the longest-necked animal during World Giraffe Day, Tuesday, June 21 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The celebration includes special giraffe keeper chats, arts and crafts, giraffe feedings, a 20 percent discount on giraffe merchandise in the shops and more. Plus, guests who wear giraffe print apparel will receive half price general admission tickets.

World Giraffe Day is an initiative of the Giraffe Conservation Fund (GCF) and helps raise awareness and conservation efforts for giraffes as there are less than 80,000 remaining in the wild. The vision of the GCF is that of “a sustainable future where all giraffe populations and subspecies are protected and secure in the wild.” The Living Desert is one of many zoos and organizations throughout the world participating in this special day and what it represents.

“We look forward to World Giraffe Day each year as it gives us another opportunity to celebrate our missions of preservation through education and appreciation,” said Peter Siminski, Director of Conservation at The Living Desert. “We welcome everyone to participate in the day’s activities that highlight these amazing animals.”

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The Living Desert’s newest giraffe baby, Twiga, born in January, is on exhibit with the zoo’s other six giraffes. For just $4 per member (non-members $5 per person), visitors can get eye-to-eye with the giraffes and enjoy this unique experience of feeding the tallest animals in the world. Giraffe feedings will be offered during World Giraffe Day at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., which also includes a keeper chat.

giraffe 2Giraffe adoptions will be available as part of the Zoo’s adopt-an-animal fundraiser. For $75 (regularly priced at $100), adopters will receive one free giraffe feeding (valid June 21 only), a giraffe stuffed animal, certificate, photo and fact sheet. No ownership rights are conferred by this “adoption.” All animals stay at The Living Desert under the care of the Animal Department staff.

Giraffe range in height from 14-feet to over 20-feet tall and can weigh over 2,500 pounds. Their long necks reach almost 7-feet in length. A giraffe’s tongue is almost 20 inches long, and its purple color protects it from the sun’s harsh rays when eating.

The Living Desert is open daily from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with the last admission at 1 p.m. For more information, visit www.LivingDesert.org or contact 760-346-5694.