MINOT, N.D. - For Florida-native Sam Pincus, every visit to Minot includes a trip to the Roosevelt Park Zoo.
“Everybody that lives in this town's lucky to have it! We don't have a zoo this close where I live. In Florida, it's hard to get zoos anyway, it's so hot. So to be able to have this in your town, to me is a plus,” Pincus said.
Pincus' son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter live in Minot. The zoo they visit just passed a rigorous process to keep its accreditation.
The process involves a lengthy application, on-site visits from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and interviews with Dewitz to ensure the animals are cared for in a humane manner.
“It's extremely important for people in our community to know that we are meeting these accreditation standards, and that we do practice modern zoo practices for the animal care and management,” said Zoo Director Becky Dewitz.
Dewitz said the accreditation also allows the zoo to obtain certain funding, and exchange animals with other accredited zoos.
“The amount of work that the staff does is just really a testament to the amount of love and care for what they do in their own jobs every single day. And that's making sure that the animals are being taken care of. They're being fed the highest quality food we can feed them. That our veterinarian husbandry standards are very high, and that the animals get the best possible care that we can possibly give to them,” Dewitz said.
Pincus said she's glad her family can enjoy a quality place like the zoo.
“Love it, love it. And I’m so glad that my granddaughter has a place like this to go to,” Pincus said.
Dewitz said the zoo must reapply for its accreditation every five years.
All four zoos in North Dakota—Roosevelt, the Dakota Zoo in Bismarck, the Red River Zoo in Fargo, and the Chahinkapa Zoo in Wahpeton—are accredited with the AZA.
The Roosevelt Park Zoo has now transitioned to their fall hours, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Dewitz said they're still figuring out their winter schedule, which will depend on snow removal.
For information on hours, rates, and attractions at the Roosevelt Park Zoo, you can visit: http://rpzoo.com/
To learn more about the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the accreditation process, along with a list of accredited zoos across the county, you can visit: https://www.aza.org/