Land Down Under heads to Toledo Zoo, Museum of Art

The Toledo Zoo will welcome a 17-foot saltwater crocodile to its new Wild Walkabout exhibit.

Toledo will get a double dose of the Land Down Under this year, when the Toledo Zoo and the Toledo Museum of Art introduce Australia-themed exhibitions.

â??Both the Toledo Zoo and the Toledo Museum of Art are incredible organizations that are respected by their peers worldwide, and beloved by their communities,â?? Jeff Sailer, the Zooâ??s executive director, said. â??By working together and sharing our talents, weâ??re able to offer all our guests an even more meaningful experience.â??

"It was rather serendipitous that both organizations were independently planning Australian-themed exhibitions for the summer months," said Brian Kennedy, the Museum's director. "It was logical for us to work together."

The Zooâ??s exhibit, Wild Walkabout, presented by Mercy, is slated to open on Friday, May 24 -- bringing the fascinating natural world of Australia to Zoo visitors. The adventure starts with a walk-through wallaby exhibit and continues with dingoes, death adders and more. A huge saltwater crocodile, brought here by Block Communications, Inc., is the center of attention in the Reptile House, while a colorful Great Barrier Reef exhibit in the Museum of Science showcases the intrigue of Australiaâ??s coastal waters. All across the Zoo, visitors explore the gems of Australia at their own pace, from kookaburras and cassowaries to bizarre stick insects, remarkable behind-the-scenes tours and up-close encounters with Australian animals.

The Toledo Museum of Artâ??s exhibition, Crossing Cultures: The Owen and Wagner Collection of Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Art from the Hood Museum of Art, opens April 12. Crossing Cultures explores works by artists from desert communities as well as major metropolitan centers and marks the first time in 25 years that Aboriginal art has been shown in the Midwest. The approximately 120 works, most created since the year 2000, represent the many art-making practices of Aboriginal people, including acrylic painting on canvas, ochre painting on bark, sculpture and photography.

The Museum-Zoo collaboration brings together the extensive knowledge and skills of each organization, creating a dynamic experience for all visitors. The Museum is coordinating hands-on art activities at the Zooâ??s Opening Weekend Celebrations, sponsored by BP, while the Zoo is taking Australian animals to the Museum for selected programs throughout the summer, such as the Museumâ??s Family Fun Day on July 14.

The Toledo Museum of Artâ??s Crossing Cultures exhibition opens April 12; the Toledo Zooâ??s Wild Walkabout, presented by Mercy, opens May 24. More information about the respective exhibitions at these world-class organizations is available at and