questions from the kids at uthoff valley

As promised, here are the adorably, inquisitive questions from the kids of Uthoff Valley!


Nick asks, “What does Zoo stand for?”

The word “Zoo” is short for Zoological Park. You can see why they shortened it. You’d hate to say, “Mom, let’s go visit the Zoological Park!” everyday! Zoological means “relating to or affecting animals” while Zoology is the branch of Biology that relates to studying animals.

Tia asks, “How many animals are at the Zoo?”

There are over 18,000 animals at the Zoo! Disclaimer, though, that includes all of the animals in the Insectarium i.e. a large bee or cockroach colony. The Zoo has over 500 species of animals as well.

Kai asks, “How did Bubbles get her name?”

The otters really do like to blow bubbles and I’m sure the real Bubbles enjoys that, but in real life her keepers simply named her that because it is a cute name. 

Jay asks, “How old is Bubbles?”

Bubbles just celebrated her 12th birthday in May.

Charley asks, “How many Carnivores are at the Zoo?”

The Carnivore Department cares for 28 carnivores (if I counted right!) but that does not include the carnivorous reptiles and birds!

Cam asks, “Is it difficult to train wild animals?”

It can be! Each species is unique and brings with it a varying natural history that can influence its training. However, at the Zoo we stick to the principles of positive reinforcement and operant conditioning. These training techniques work just as well on a bear as they do on your dog at home!

Brady asks, “Will you ever get a different job, other than working as a Zookeeper?”

I can honestly say I feel very, very lucky to be a Keeper. I never expected to become a Carnivore Keeper. From this experience I’ve learned you can’t really plan life out! Whatever happens, happens, so I don’t think I can really answer that question! That being said, I certainly love my career right now.

Sophia asks, “Since you work full-time at the Zoo when do you have time to write your books?" 

Good question! I can answer that simply by saying I work almost constantly on my weekends and many evenings after work! I wish I had more time for writing, for sure, but I make do with the time that I have and I love it.

Austin asks, "Why is the Penguin Exhibit close?”

The Penguin Exhibit is closed because it is in the construction zone for the new Polar Bear Point. BUT you can visit the penguins all day online with the Zoo’s Penguin WebCam found at

Dominic asks, “Do you like writing stories?”

I LOVE writing stories! I hope I always get the chance to write and share my writing with others. I hope you enjoy writing stories too!