On a beautiful June day, it's only natural to see children and their families at the Erie Zoo. Today, an estimated 4,000 people came to see more than just the animals.
It was Equipment Day at the zoo, an event when the zoo staff brings in everything from fire trucks to excavating machinery for kids to see up close.
"We have over a dozen pieces of equipment all over the zoo grounds that the kids can get up close to,” said Kelly Miller, communications and special events coordinator. “They can get in the driver's seat, play with the buttons, honk the horns. It's definitely the kickoff to the summer events season.”
Children of all ages got their chance to check out equipment from the Erie Fire Department, tractors, and even a Zamboni. Hockey fan Ethan Cunningham likes that the most.
"It's because it cleans the ice and I like fresh ice because it feels good," he said.
Equipment Day has been held for more than a decade. Ethan’s mom, Kim, is a zoo member and enjoys the family event.
"It's wonderful to come out and see all of the machines and the big equipment and it's great that the kids get to go on and actually sit in the machines and have a hands-on experience,” she said.
Saturday was just the beginning for family-friendly events at the Erie Zoo, according to officials, who say there's a lot in store for the summer.
"We have a lot of events coming up here in July, an event almost every single Saturday. Actually throughout the entire summer, August as well,” Miller said. “So it's just a busy few months here at the zoo."
The first 500 kids who came to the zoo received a free hard hat.