Never mind their captivating charisma and seemingly endless abundance of energy, being a lemur is a pretty tough gig.
Thanks to a host of ecological challenges in their native Madagascar, all of the more than 100 species of these acrobatic animals are endangered to one degree or another.
As a group, they are the world’s most-imperiled class of mammal.
For one day each year, though, people all over the world are encouraged to take the time to appreciate these amazing creatures and learn more about their unique adaptations and the threats they face.
This year’s World Lemur Day celebration falls on Saturday, Oct. 20. Visitors to the Ocean Journey building at the Tennessee Aquarium will be enjoy a packed schedule of special events and programs highlighting the Aquarium’s Ring-tailed and Red-ruffed Lemurs as well as several other fascinating animals native to Madagascar.
At various locations in the Tropical Cove gallery, visitors will be able to meet animal experts for some up-close-and-personal encounters with these engaging Malagasy ambassadors, including riotously colorful Panther Chameleons, enormous Radiated Tortoises and the aptly named Madagascar Hissing Cockroach.
The stars of the show, however, will obviously be the Ring-tailed and Red-ruffed Lemurs. Visitors can learn more about these furry celebrities during the Aquarium’s twice-daily Leaping Lemurs animal programs at 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. During the rest of the day, they’ll be able to snap pics in a special photo booth, snag a hug with a roaming lemur mascot and craft special lemur masks.
Guests can take advantage of these World Lemur Day activities, included free with admission, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Those looking to take home an extra-special memento can visit the gift shop, where they can purchase special paintings made by the lemurs themselves. These paintings are available in limited quantities, but those looking to help improve the conditions for lemurs in Madagascar can also find many other fair trade goods in the gift shop that were made by Malagasy artisans. A portion of the sale of these goods will benefit the Aquarium’s ongoing partnership with the international Madagascar Fauna and Flora Group.