Lehigh Valley Zoo Announces Grand Re-Opening of Preston’s Pad on June 17th

Jun 17th, 2016Press Release from Lehigh Valley Zoo

IMG_2059June 15, 2016, Schnecksville, PA – Lehigh Valley Zoo is celebrating the grand re-opening of Preston’s Pad, a children’s play area designed for little ones and their families to connect with nature in a safe and interactive environment. Open daily from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm, Preston’s Pad offers a designated space within the Zoo for little “toads, fairies and gnomes” to engage in Nature Play. Nature Play, a term used in a collaborative effort between the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and The Walt Disney Company, describes a movement to educate and connect families to the natural world. Nature Play involves using the surrounding landscape and vegetation to offer fun learning opportunities for children and families outdoors.

Within Preston’s Pad, families will find a large garden area filled with insect-friendly plants where children can explore. This area is a study in biodiversity—the science of creating habitats in which all species and forms of life can thrive. Through careful plant selection and planning, the garden has become a bustling scene of plant, animal and insect life—and one that the children help to cultivate every day through their interactive Nature Play.

According to the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), “Biodiversity is one of the world’s most precious treasures and a vital ingredient of human survival and welfare. But, all is not well for the planet’s biodiversity. It is shrinking fast and many human activities continue to threaten it, especially in places such as our rainforests and oceans.” At Lehigh Valley Zoo, part of the daily mission is to help promote an understanding of biodiversity and educate families about what they can do to help.

Natural materials are made available in Preston’s Pad for children to engage in activities such as creating their own fairy or gnome gardens, toad abodes, building bird nests, or painting with mud. The children’s creations actually help mold the natural living spaces for the garden’s toads, birds and insects. The space also contains a Learning Log lined with secure terrariums containing larger insects and arachnids (think tarantula), as well as iPads for interactive Nature Play games.

“Nature Play is an important element of the Zoo’s educational program,” shared Melissa Borland, Zoo President and CEO. “As the children work their magic building homes for insects and toads, they create an environment where they can use magnifying glasses to explore a natural world of butterflies, caterpillars, frogs, pollinating bees, birds, and more.” Lehigh Valley Zoo 5150 Game Preserve Road PO Box 519 Schnecksville, PA 18078 Media Contact: Stacy Hein, Manager of Marketing and Business Partnerships (610) 799-4171 x224

Special activities on June 17th include: a lady bug release at 12:30 pm, mud painting, toad abodes, rock painting and Preston’s shop.


As a member-supported non-profit organization, Lehigh Valley Zoological Society was founded in 2004, but as a treasured community landmark, the Zoo’s history spans over a century. Founded in 1906 by General Harry C. Trexler, a local industrialist, the Lehigh Valley’s Trexler Game Preserve has educated and entertained more than five million people.

Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the Lehigh Valley Zoo hosts year-round, family-friendly events and activities, educational programs, and camps. With a mission to create a safe, engaging and enlightening wildlife experience for guests of all ages, the Zoo demonstrates leadership in the cultural, scientific and conservation communities. To learn more about Lehigh Valley Zoo, we invite you to visit our website, www.lvzoo.org, or follow us on Facebook.

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