Ribbon Cutting at Mill Mountain Zoo: Grand Opening of Carilion Children’s Curiosity Corner

You are invited to attend Mill Mountain Zoo’s ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of Carilion Children’s Curiosity Corner at Mill Mountain Zoo.  The event will take place on May 18, 2023, at11:00am.  Interviews will take place following the ceremony.  

In partnership with Carilion Clinic and Carilion Children’s Hospital, we are excited to unveil an interactive, educational playground for kids of all ages.  Carilion Children’s Curiosity Corner will provide a physical outlet where children can learn while they play.  The insect-themed playground showcases an unrepresented species on exhibit at the Zoo. The giant life-like insect climbers will provide fun exercise outdoors while offering up close exploration for aspiring young entomologists to learn the value of all creatures, great and small.  

This collaborative play area offers bright fresh exploratory fun where kids can learn while they play.  “The goal for this project is to provide a more robust visitor experience while teaching kids and adults about the value insets provide to the ecosystem and that they should be appreciated, not feared”, said Niki Voudren, Mill Mountain Zoo’s Executive Director.  

A growing body of research shows that exposure to immersive, naturalistic exhibits in zoos has proven beneficial to encourage physically healthier children, boosting cognitive and social development, improving sensory skills, increasing attention spans, and stimulating an overall sense of happiness through adventure among children.  In addition, studies conducted by Stanford Health report that children who connect with nature are more likely to develop into adults who appreciate nature and become better stewards of the environment.  

“I've always loved the Zoo.  I love animals.  In the short time that I’ve been helping at Mill Mountain Zoo, I’ve grown to love its people and the heart they have as caretakers.  This play-space is designed for children, but the purpose of this space is to educate.  Not just the education and appreciation of all critters, great and small, but that all of us, great and small, will have a better understanding of what it means to care for our own community and the animals in it.  How can we be expected to have a heart for the big things, if we don’t take time for the little ones?”, said Thomas West, Special Projects Coordinator.

“Our educational programming of the life sciences is designed to align with Virginia’s SOL academic standards.  We are thrilled to partner with our friends at Carilion, and so honored to have their support in bettering our community by helping to provide an accessible, educational enrichment activity for kids of all ages,” said Niki Voudren, Mill Mountain Zoo’s Executive Director.  “This project will leave lasting impressions on children for years to come.”

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