IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Despite being closed for the winter, the Idaho Falls Zoo at Tautphaus Park is a busy place.
The closure allows the zoo time to make many updates. They're currently replacing the viewing window at the otter exhibit and renovating the Habitat Education Center.
"We recently got a grant from the Cross Tradable Foundation to renovate our animal ambassador which are our education animals living space," Sunny Katseanes, education curator for the Idaho Falls Zoo, said. "And so we're doubling the size of that. We're actually taking over the old classroom and combining that with the habitat are to make a great, really neat space for our education animals."
With the cold Idaho winter's, some may think the zoo sends some animals to warmer locations; however, the zoo says, they're all still here.
"Everybody stays here at the zoo," Katseanes said. "They may just move to different locations. So there's about half of the animals here at the Idaho Falls Zoo that can't be out when it's really really cold like this. Or, you know, when it's winter at all. It has to be above 50 degrees at night."
One of last season's biggest attractions were the new lion cubs, Ilanga and Kamaria, along with big brother, Hondo.
"Our lion cubs are doing great," Dallas LaDucer, zookeeper at the Idaho Falls Zoo, said. "They are growing like weeds. And they are eating like little carnivores. Our twin girls are about seven months old now and weigh in at about 90 pounds. Our male, Hondo, he just hit 200 pounds this month."
The warm weather is good for the lions.
"The lions would typically kinda be hiding inside their building a lot where it's nice and warm and toasty," LaDucer said. "But, because we've been having such an seasonably warm winter, there's pretty much been no day where we haven't been able to let the lions be out and playing. And they're kind of having a really good time, either playing in the snow or, on a day like today where it's warm, just kind of rolling around in the dirt and running around having a good time."
Mark your calendars, the zoo opens for the new season on April 7th.