Critter Christmas at Roosevelt Park Zoo

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MINOT, N.D. - Christmas is over but that doesn't mean animals at the zoo still can't enjoy some presents.

The Roosevelt Park Zoo was encouraging the animals to use their natural abilities while introducing them to new things, and Wednesday it was Christmas themed.

It's Critter Christmas at the Roosevelt Park Zoo and with the new winter hours, families can see the animals in a different environment.

"Animals are still here, so why not bring the public and see them. Especially on this side of the zoo where everyone is North American or colder weather animals. They're out anyway, so it's great that people can see them," says Chelsea Lee, Lead N. Trail Zookeeper.

The animals all received a special gift from the zoo keepers.

"It provokes a natural behavior, so it gets them thinking. It gets them moving around, it makes them use their full exhibit, especially with the snow, it gets them around," says Ryan Pederson, N. Trail Zookeeper.

By doing this, it makes the animals use their brain to get to the food.

"It's physically as well as mentally stimulating. If they're out in the wild searching for stuff, we can give them that by giving them enrichment items. They actually have to work for their food. When we do training, it gets them thinking just like if you were to train your dog or cat, they actually have to think about what they want to do," says Lee.

The gifts depended on the type of animal it was. Carnivores got meat and herbivores got leaves and other plants.

"With the wolves, they like ripping into their boxes to get their food. They usually like smelly things. The smellier, the better. With the reindeer, they like their browse, plants and they really like the pine trees, so we decided to do a Christmas tree for them," says Pederson.

When the animals finally gained access inside their box, it was easy to see how much they enjoyed their Christmas presents.

During the winter, the zoo is open three days a week on Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.