Adopt Venus the Vulture for your valentine sweet

By Vickie Snow

If you’re sick of spending too much money on candy, flowers, and dinner for your sweetie-pie, try something that cuts to the heart of the matter this Valentine’s Day.

You can make your loved one a proud “parent” without having to worry about changing diapers or being a responsible adult. It’s sort of like the idea of a stork bringing a baby…except this time, the bird is the gooing bundle.

For only $15, you can adopt Brookfield Zoo’s Venus the Vulture and your sweetie will get a bunch of goodies—a gift card, a photo of Venus, an adoption certificate, a vulture fact sheet, and a one-year subscription to the zoo’s quarterly newsletter—rather than a bunch of flowers that die anyway. The package will arrive at your honey’s home about a week after you mail in the check and information.

Why a vulture, you ask? Why not. Isn’t it mushy enough for you? Well, surprise, it’s the “creepy things that go over good” on Valentine’s Day, according to Bonnie Grimm, coordinator of the zoo’s animal adoption program. Venus is the lucky recipient of this year’s donations because her love-goddess name got her the spotlight, she said.

The Valentine’s Day adoption program has been around for about 10 years, Grimm said. Past animals have been a tarantula, scorpion, cockroach, poison arrow frog, gorilla and lovebirds. The lovebirds didn’t get much attention, she added.

Still not sold on the idea? Venus would really appreciate the $15 to help feed her everyday. She weighs about eight pounds and is almost six years old. Venus, a native Texan, was born at the Houston Zoo in 1985 and was moved to the Brookfield Zoo in July of 1987.

If you adopt Venus, you’ll not only receive the parent package, you’ll be invited to the zoo after hours to hang out with all the other parents to check out your “kids” and be entertained by costume characters and music.

While you have only until Feb. 24 to adopt Venus through a special offer, the animal adoption program runs year round, Grimm said. There is a specific list of animals to choose from—ones that are healthy, on exhibit, staying at the zoo and not already spoken for, she said. A $20 donation is needed for those animals.

For more information about Venus or other Brookfield Zoo inhabitants, call the zoo’s animal adoption program at (708)485-0263, ext.321.