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Orchid Show returns to Toledo Zoo featuring 1,800 blooms

The Toledo Zoo is blooming with dozens of orchids as it hosts the annual Orchid Show this month, featuring more than 1,800 orchids, offering vibrant colors, scents and backstories of rare orchids world-wide.

“It’s a demonstration of biodiversity of orchids from around the world,” said Ryan Walsh, the Toledo Zoo director of plant conservation. “It showcases a really cool plant family that has so much diversity and gets people a little more excited about plants.”

Walsh is a BGSU alumnus and received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the university. His dissertation research included studying orchids from Northwest Ohio that are native to the area.

Similarly, he said orchids are a type of plant you don’t typically see at the garden center very often. However, there are about 40 native orchids in Ohio.

Something interesting for zoo visitors to explore while at the show is an ultraviolet room that allows viewers to see a bee’s-eye-view of orchids.

“A lot of bees can see in UV, whereas we can’t typically, so we have a room where we use a very, very powerful black light so that you can actually see what the bees are seeing,” he said. “Flowers actually make signals for bees that we don’t necessarily see because those markings aren’t visible outside of the ultra-violet light spectrum.”

In addition to the show itself, many special events are happening throughout the month for visitors to take part in. These include a champagne-tasting event known as Blooms and Bubbly, a brunch and also a coffee-tasting event.

New this year as an addition to the coffee tasting, Slow Brew, is an opportunity for college students to get involved with a future career.

“We are going to have representatives from the zoo in various fields and what they do, whether it’s zookeepers, security, food service or marketing and communications,” said Jen Brassil, director of PR and communication events at the Toledo Zoo. “So, we’re inviting college students to come out and have a one-on-one, face-to-face with some of the individuals working at the zoo and seeing what it takes to run a zoo.”

Brassil also said visiting the zoo in the winter is a great opportunity to see animals that are more active and alert during the cooler months.

After the Orchid Show ends March 2, zoo goers have the chance to purchase almost every orchid on display at the plant sale.

The show, located in the zoo’s ProMedica Museum of Natural History, runs 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

For more information, visit the zoo’s website.

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  • D

    Don CollmanFeb 10, 2024 at 11:54 am

    Very nice pictures included within the article of the orchids

    Reply
  • B

    Bob MillersFeb 9, 2024 at 6:25 pm

    These are excellent images!

    Reply