Giant Pacific octopus, 25th anniversary, and ice cream!

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As its name suggests, the Giant Pacific Octopus is the largest species of octopus found anywhere in the world. It is also considered by many to be one of the planet's most intelligent sea creatures.

Their highly developed brains and keen vision make them clever hunters. In fact, aquarists often provide these animals with behavioral enrichment items such as food sealed in closed containers-a sort of food puzzle to foster mental and physical stimulation.

A colder water species, the GPO's range extends over the northern Pacific Ocean from California northward to the arctic waters of the Aleutian Islands and then southward to Japan. Despite a relatively short lifespan of about 5 years, these animals have been reported to grow from the size of a sunflower seed to an arm span of 25 feet across. To compensate for the short life span, this species will hatch tens of thousands of tiny eggs in its lifetime. However, similar to sea turtles which also are prolific breeders, only a very few of the hatchlings survive to adulthood.

Some of you may recall that last winter the arrival of our Giant Pacific Octopus from a facility in Vancouver was delayed several weeks due to bad weather. Well, I'm happy to report that in just over six months, this animal has not only thrived but also doubled or tripled in size! Be sure to check this amazing creature out on your next visit to Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium.

Wildlife World 25th Anniversary Celebration September 2009 marks the 25th anniversary of Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium. So to celebrate, we're offering a special half price discount on Saturday, September 5th, 2009. For a donation of one can of cat or dog food visitors will receive half price admission. Canned pet food donations will benefit the Sun Valley Animal Shelter, located in Glendale, AZ. www.SunValleyPets.org.

One can of cat or dog food required per person/discount. Offer not valid with other discounts. Discount good for admission on 9/5/09 only. Food, rides, and gift shops not included.

American Association of Zoo Keepers presents: Ice Cream Social! The AAZK annual ice cream social returns Saturday, September 19th, 2009 from 5pm - 9pm. Admission to the zoo & aquarium for this event is just $12.00 for adults and $6.00 for children 3-12. Proceeds benefit local and global conservation efforts. Join in the fun at Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium as we raise money to protect and conserve wildlife around the globe.

Ice cream available to all who attend (graciously donated by Mary Coyle's Ol' Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor, located at 7th Avenue and Missouri in Phoenix). Many activities are also planned for the event, including: kids games, live music from the jazz and blues band, BLUZONE, a prize raffle, silent auction, and a 16 foot tall inflatable movie screen donated by the people at FUNFLICKS Outdoor Movies and much, much more!

Grey Stafford, Ph.D. is the Director of Conservation and Communications at the Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium and author of the new pet-training book, " ". He appears frequently on 3TV with some of the zoo's fascinating animals.

Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium, which is located at 16501 W. Northern Ave., Litchfield Park, is open 365 days a year, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Daytime admission is $26.50 (plus tax) for adults and $14.25 (plus tax) for children 3 to 12; children 2 and younger get in free. Special evening admission to the Aquarium only is $16.99 (plus tax) for adults and $8.99 (plus tax) for children 3 to 12. For more information, call 623-935-WILD (9453) or visit .