HARPURSVILLE, N.Y. (FOX 13) - Millions of people feel like they already know the Animal Adventure Park team after watching them take care of April the pregnant giraffe for so long. Now, many of April’s new fans are making the trip to see their new ‘friends’ in person.
Animal Adventure Park kicked off its 2017 season on Monday, two days late because of poor weather. But the delay didn’t keep plenty of people from attending the public debut of baby Taj, along with April and her mate Oliver.
“It was a large crowd,” an AAP spokesperson offered. “April, Oliver and Taj did wonderful with the first visitors of the season and everything at the park was on point and ran smoothly.”
April became a viral hit earlier this year when the park installed a webcam in her birthing pen, allowing millions of people around the world to follow the last months of her pregnancy. Meanwhile, park officials worked behind the scenes, expanding the park in anticipation of new visitors this season.
One of those new fans was Diana Smith, who made the drive up from State College, Pennsylvania on Monday, picking up her mother-in-law along the way. Diana had begun watching April in February and “fell in love with her.”
“When opening day was upon us, it was a perfect time to go. It was my mother-in-law’s 91st birthday and Mother’s Day, and she followed April's story too. So we packed up and made the drive,” Smith offered. “The park was absolutely beautiful.”
Smith said that there was a “nice crowd,” including a lot of school buses filled with elementary-aged children who got plenty of interaction with the keepers. Footage posted to social media showed the outside of the barn that so many people had only seen from the inside, along with April and Taj, of course.
Smith also had kind words for park owner Jordan Patch, who became a familiar face for many viewers thanks to his regular Facebook updates as April’s pregnancy continued.
“I had a chance to talk to a few locals that were visiting the park as well, and I got nothing but positive responses from them,” she continued. “Jordan has the support of his neighbors, which is nice to hear. I wish him much success and look forward to going back and visiting again.”
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