Slice of Life

Milk a cow at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, even if it is made of fiberglass

Courtesy of Rosamond Gifford Zoo

The first Dairy Day celebrated for National Dairy Month featured dairy trivia and free ice cream samples. The day was such a big hit that Byrne Dairy ran out of ice cream.

UPDATED: July 7, 2017 at 9:27 p.m.

At the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, you can see a cow and milk it too. One made of fiberglass, that is.

Byrne Dairy has partnered with the Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo to sponsor “The Real Milking Cow,” exhibit, currently on display outside the Domestic Animal Barn, which serves as an interactive educational tool. “Byrnsie,” a fiberglass milkable Holstein cow, is the newest member of the zoo, named after the beloved cow that is the face of Byrne Dairy and its products.

The display is part of  “Dairy Days” educational events sponsored by the dairy company at the zoo.  The next Dairy Day is scheduled for noon to 2 p.m. Sunday, July 16, on National Ice Cream Day. The first Dairy Day celebrated National Dairy Month on Saturday, June 24 at the Byrnsie exhibit featuring dairy trivia and free ice cream samples. It was such a big hit, Byrne Dairy ran out of ice cream and had to call in reinforcements.

The exhibit is designed to teach zoo-goers about the importance of dairy farming and food manufacturing. The exhibit has attracted many zoo-goers who have never seen a cow in real life, let alone milk one. The cow is equipped with an internal water pump system designed to let visitors “milk” the cows using only their hands.

“This exhibit was an immediate hit with our youngest zoo guests, many of whom live in urban or suburban areas where they never encounter a cow up close,” said Janet Agostini, president and CEO of the Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. “Much less get a chance to experience what it is like to milk one by hand.”

Older zoo-goers may recall a small wooden model milk cow, which Byrnsie has replaced. The new model better replicates the size, appearance and experience of milking a real cow, Agostini said.

“Byrnsie allows them to see what a cow looks like up close and experience how big it is. The distinctive markings of a black and white Holstein and how to extract milk from a cow using only their hands and a bucket — as generations of dairy farmers did throughout our nation’s history,” Agostini said.

Founded in 1914, the Rosamond Gifford Zoo at Burnet Park is among the top 10 percent of zoos in the country as an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The zoo houses 700 animals on 43 acres of land.

Since 1933 Byrne Dairy, a family-owned manufacturer and distributor of fresh dairy products based in central New York, has partnered with over 250 local family farms to provide the freshest ingredients to its customers.

The exhibit furthers the mission of the zoo to provide hands-on educational tools and serves Byrne Dairy’s mission of spotlighting fair farming and teaching children about the connection between the products that appear in their refrigerators and the dairy industry, down to the individual cow, Agostini said.

The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $4 for children aged 3-18 and $5 for seniors aged 62 and older. Children two and under are free.

CORRECTION: In a previous version of this post, Byrnsie’s composition was misstated. Byrnsie is made of fiberglass. The Daily Orange regrets this error.

CORRECTION: In a previous version of this post, the duration of “The Real Milking Cow” exhibit was misstated. The exhibit will be open for the foreseeable future. The Daily Orange regrets this error.

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