LINCOLN PARK — The Lincoln Park Zoo is hoping its patrons will give the gift of a little something extra for its animals this holiday season possibly in the form of an industrial-sized lollipop for a camel or a piñata full of treats for a gorilla.
The zoo's holiday wish list for its animals is a way to help out an animal or make the donation on an animal lover's behalf. Each purchase goes directly to buy the specialty items for the animals and comes with a certificate that can be customized to show that the gift was given by a friend.
"We work very closely with our animal care folks to see what they need," said Kate Fridholm, senior director of annual giving at the zoo. "We can have food that they wouldn't otherwise be getting."
The 33-item wish list has gifts ranging in price from $5 for a fruit basket of pears for red pandas, to $45 for a giant winter Frisbee for gorillas.
"We see it as the next level of animal care or interest, a shopping cart of sort that allows one to find a species that they are greatly interested in," Fridholm said.
Other items on the wish list include new brushes for ponies ($12), a basket of fish filets for the storks ($20), eggplants for the hippos ($30), warmers for the snow owls' baths ($30), fish-flavored toothpaste for the seals ($7) and grapevine balls for the otters ($15).
For animal lovers who can't decide on a specific animal gift this December, the zoo's ADOPT an animal program goes toward helping the entire animal population. For $55, a buyer will get a plush stuffed animal of the adopted species they chose along with a magnetized photo frame of the animal.
New this year is the option of plush versions of the two new baby gorillas at the zoo.
"It's an entry level philanthropy," Fridholm said.