By John Benson
Special to The Gazette
Pucker up froggy.
By no means is Amanda Majewski, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo event coordinator/marketing public relations specialist, suggesting you shouldnâ€™t kiss a frog, but this amphibian specialist does confirm any expectations of a prince materializing or warts being transferred will go unfulfilled.
Dispelling some of the myths surrounding frogs is part of what youâ€™ll experience at the Cleveland Metroparks Zooâ€™s â€œLeap Frog Day,â€ which takes place 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 29 in the RainForest.
â€œBecause itâ€™s a celebration of the leap year, the activities are really focused on frogs for the day,â€ Majewski said. â€œWe have frog games and props for the kids. Theyâ€™ll have fun, but we also try to teach them a little bit about frogs, metamorphosis, the frogâ€™s life cycle and what it really means to be an amphibian.â€
While â€œLeap Frog Dayâ€ may seem like another community-based event attempting to get more people to visit the zoo, Majewski stressed the impetus behind the program is to draw more attention to the fact 2008 has been named by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums as the â€œYear of the Frog.â€
The idea is to clue people in on the plight of frogs and the amphibian race.
â€œThis is really our launching pad to discuss and raise awareness of this crisis that is going on,â€ Majewski said. â€œOver a third of 6,000 species of frogs are in danger of going extinct within our lifetime, which is pretty scary at how rapid that can happen. There are a number of factors, including pollutants, climate change, habitat loss and the fungus that is wiping out populations all over.â€
In fact, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has a breeding program for the Pana-manian golden frog, which is now extinct in the wild. Locally, the zoo is focusing its fundraising attention on wood frogs, which are indigenous to Northeast Ohio. The goal is to build vernal pools throughout the MetroParks. These water areas offer safe haven to frog eggs.
Itâ€™s this type of information that â€œLeap Frog Dayâ€ attendees can expect to learn more about. Majewski said she expects plenty of teachers and school groups to attend, as well as families with younger children.
â€œLeap Frog Dayâ€ takes place 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 29 in The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo RainForest, 3900 Wildlife Way, Cleveland.
Admission is $7 per person, $5 for kids ages 2 to 11 and free for children younger than 2. For more information, call 216-661-6500 or visit www.clemetzoo.com.
Benson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.