Potawatomi Zoo opens for the season

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Need a spring break get away? Well, the zoo might be the perfect spot this year.

A special celebration at Potawatomi Zoo on Friday.

The zoo picking the right day and week for opening day to celebrate both for spring break and a birthday celebration of their own.

It’s opening day and a very special happy birthday to our friend Masamba, who is a white rhino at the zoo.

He sure had quite the number of visitors wishing and singing him the happy birthday song.

“We’re very excited here at the zoo because it’s opening day,” said Josh Sisk, Director of Potawatomi Zoo.

“You see Masamba, the rhino behind us. Today is his 5th birthday so we’re celebrating his birthday. And, it’s just nice on this first weekend to be able to have sunshine, 59 degrees. The zoo is full of people so it’s just exciting,” Sisk said.

Masamba creating quite the fans around the zoo.

Visitors say that Masamba is one their favorite animals they come visit.

“Ever since Masamba came into the picture. I think that’s probably the best one right now,” said James Ortega, a local.

Of course, they couldn’t miss his very special day.

“It’s Masamba’s birthday, we’re so excited. We saw it first thing in the morning, we read about it and we’re like… we’re making a plan to come here today,” Ortega said.

And, locals returning to the zoo with plans to come again.

“We’re members of the zoo so it’s always our favorite time of the year to come out. My kids love it. And, we live across the street so it’s easy. We hear the lions roar at night when they're getting fed and we hear the giraffes are coming this summer so we’re super excited,” said Linda Watterud, a local.

“We make it a habit at least 2-3 time a week coming to the zoo…and, we’re coming tomorrow too,” said Watterud.

The zoo is welcoming all returning and new locals.

“If you're really looking for a fun safe place right now. I know things are getting better with COVID. The zoo is great. It’s 23 acres, you can get outside, you can socially distance yourself if you’re not wanting to travel. We’re expecting kind of a more busy season this year because maybe so many people aren’t going to travel. And what better thing to do than come to your local zoo,” said Sesk.

The zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with extended hours in the summer until 8 p.m.

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