Kissable camels now at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo

Beginning this weekend, two camels will call Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo home through Labor Day.

“Kids of all ages are welcome to climb aboard these camels for an experience they won’t soon forget,” said Gregg Dancho, zoo director. “While we don’t encourage kissing the camels, we’re sure that photos of these guys will be popping up on social media sites (#ctbzoo) all summer long.”

The camels, named Toby and Goliath, can be found on the greenhouse lawn and rides will be available from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for $5 per person, which includes a photo.

Visitors will be able to purchase ride tickets at the front gate, gift shop, carousel, and at the camel ride. While there are no age restrictions for riders, anyone 5 years old and younger requires an adult rider with them.

The zoo also is offering a combo ticket for both a carousel and camel ride for $6.

Summer programming for families

Toby and Goliath are Dromedary camels, meaning they have one hump.

Their summer stay at the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport off Route 8’s Exit 5 is part of the zoo’s special programming for families.

In recent years, the zoo has offered a free flight bird show, Rainforest Reptiles and, in 2012, large Galapagos tortoises.

Fun camel facts

Here are fun camel facts, courtesy of Environmental Graffiti:

— Bactrian camels have two humps while Dromedary camels have one hump. (Toby and Goliath are Dromedary camels.)

— The name “camel” comes from Arabic, meaning “beauty.”

— A camel’s hump stores fat, and not water as many believe.

— Camels can drink up to 40 gallons at one time.

— Camels can go for long periods of time without drinking because of the shape of their red blood cells, which are oval. They are the only mammals to have this kind of blood cell.

— Camels can kick in all four directions with each leg.

— Camels can eat anything without injuring their mouths, including thorny twigs.

— Camels can close their nostrils against wind and sand when necessary.

— Their coats reflect sunlight and insulate them from the desert heat.

— “Spitting” is a way that camels defend themselves. And they don’t actually spit but rather throw up a nasty smelling fluid when provoked.

About Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo features 300 animals representing primarily North and South American species. This includes Amur (Siberian) tigers, Brazilian ocelot, red wolves, and golden lion tamarins.

Other highlights at the facility are the South American rainforest and free-flight aviary; prairie dog exhibit with “pop-up” viewing areas; New England Farmyard with goats, cows, pigs, sheep and other barnyard critters; hoofstock trail with bison, pronghorn and deer; indoor carousel, and outdoor picnic grove. Find out more at