New Mountain Lion Exhibit and Evening Entertainment for San Diego Zoo’s Nighttime Zoo

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Mountain lion KoyaThe Australian Outback meets the California shore for this year’s “Koalafornia” theme as Nighttime Zoo at the San Diego Zoo returns. The annual summertime event begins on June 28 and continues through Sept. 1, 2014, when the Zoo will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. While guests typically visit the Zoo during the day, Nighttime Zoo offers a chance to see the animals and plants from a different perspective and gives guests a good look at some of the Zoo’s nocturnal animals.

Guests visiting for Nighttime Zoo will be able to see the new mountain lion exhibit, which is opening in time for the summertime event. The new exhibit replicates a mountainous California habitat with pine trees, a rock outcropping and wood structures for the mountain lions to climb on. The habitat also features a state-of-the-art scent distribution system that allows animal care staff to pump various scents into the exhibit to keep the mountain lions active and intrigued.

“As we build new exhibits, we are always developing creative ways to insure the spaces are dynamic and provide our animals with opportunities to express species-specific behaviors,” Greg Vicino, associate curator, said. “Mountain lions often use smell to detect prey or other cats, and this new scent distribution system allows us to pair specific scents with specific behavioral responses in a very adaptively relevant way.”

Guests can experience new shows during Nighttime Zoo such as “Australiana II, Return to the Outback,” as well as a bouncing trampoline act, “Kangaroo Crossing.” Other entertainment includes “Dr. Zoolitle Explores Australia” and on the Front Street Stage there will be animal encounters by day and a variety of performances by night. The Boardwalk Brass band will feature musical entertainment on the Zoo’s front plaza, and guests can end the night with “The Walkabout,” a procession along Front Street featuring Nighttime Zoo performers.