Children's Museum - Zoo - Natural History Museum

The Mission of RDC: To inspire a sense of awe and stewardship for the natural world by supporting conservation, education, discovery and recreation.
Want to Help? News and Updates Riverside Discovery Center Takes First Steps in Amur Tiger Conservation

Please help us make a better home for our chimpanzees in Nebraska

As the social needs of chimpanzees are better understood, we realize the need to increase our chimp colony from 3 to 7 individuals. Through construction and building modification we can accomplish this. Your help is absolutely essential if we are to make a better home for our chimp friends. Jack, Sarah & Scooter send their sincerest “hoots” and backslaps in thanks.



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Riverside Discovery Center hosts “Deck the Paws” Holiday Event


Children and families will have a chance to see Santa Claus at Riverside Discovery Center during RDC’s annual Holiday at the Zoo celebration December 12 from 11am – 2pm. In addition to Santa, this year the event will feature children’s winter crafts and activities, caroling, cookie decorating, and a chance to watch the animals open their presents. Families are encouraged to bring their cameras for fun photo opportunities with Santa and other winter decorations.

“This will be a fun holiday event for everyone, including our animals. They love getting into their presents almost as much as the public enjoys watching!” says Amber Schiltz, education curator.

RDC staff will also be serving hot cocoa, chili and s’mores as concessions to warm people up as they celebrate the season. If you’re looking to put something wild under the Christmas tree this year, annual memberships will be available for purchase as gifts during the event.

“I can’t think of a better gift for a friend or family, then the chance to experience the wonder of nature and the joy of our animals all year round,” says Schiltz.


On Sunday, November 15, Riverside Discovery Center (RDC) took the first steps in participating in an Amur tiger breeding program coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). RDC and Lake Superior Zoo (Duluth, Minn.) exchanged tigers; Lana, a female, was transported back to Duluth, while Ussuri, a male named for a river in the Amur region of Southeast Russia, has become part of the collection at RDC. Nika, our female Amur tiger selected for breeding, has resided at the zoo since January 2009.

RDC participates in the AZA Species Survival Plan (SSP), a collaborative population management and conservation program that began in 1981. Amur tigers, also known as Siberian tigers, are a critically endangered species. It is estimated that there are between 300 and 400 Amur tigers remaining in the wild, found in isolated forests across eastern Asia, in parts of Siberia and China. The species suffers from habitat loss and poaching.

“This is a tremendous honor for the Riverside Discovery Center,” said Anne James, executive director. “Nika and Ussuri are genetically valuable in the captive population and a successful breeding between them could have international implications. This is an amazing opportunity to have a global conservation effort happening right in our own backyard.”

RDC’s tiger breeding program will be under the mentorship of personnel from the Denver Zoo. “In the wild, tigers are solitary animals only coming together to share an occasional meal or for breeding purposes. They are not socially communal big cats like lions,” said Peter Halliday, zoo director. “Upon completion of a required 30 day quarantine, the Denver team will guide us on introducing Ussuri to Nika and instruct us on how to recognize mating signals to time the breeding process appropriately.”

“As one of the smaller AZA accredited zoos, funding a breeding program is a financial challenge,” said James. “Therefore, we are forming a Tiger Conservation Team to help us accomplish our goal of rearing tiger cubs.”

Those wishing to have an actual hand in species conservation will receive rewarding benefits as part of the program. Membership levels are $500 and $1000; donors will be honored on a Tiger Conservation Team sign at the tiger exhibit. Top-tier donors will also receive an individual plaque and tiger photograph. If and when cubs are conceived, these donors will be the first members of the public to see them. Participants will receive periodic updates on the tiger breeding program and will be among the first to know if and when cubs are born.

Halliday cautions that cubs are not guaranteed, “It’s totally up to the tigers and Mother Nature, but we will make our best effort to ensure success.” The tiger exhibit is currently undergoing modifications and the tigers are not on view to the public.


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