POWELL, Ohio (WCMH) — The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is home to some incredible animals and areas, including the Heart of Africa. One of the fan favorites in that area is the opportunity to feed a giraffe.

Even though it’s something that happens every year, it still takes some getting used to after spending the cold winter in the barn. “While we offer tours inside, it’s not the same as the summer with the volume of people who come to the zoo. So, what we do for our end is we allow the giraffes to come out prior to when feeding actually opens,” said Shannon Borders, Heart of Africa curator.

Many of the giraffes are eager for a snack like 21-year-old shaggy. Others, like 2-year-old Ralph, take a bit more time to warm up.  And while the feeding is fun, it also serves an important role in conservation.

“One of the best moments is when you have a little kid and they’re so scared, and they don’t want to feed that giraffe because they’re big, but then the child does it and they want to do it over and over again. And it’s in that moment that you know you’ve changed things for that child, for the giraffe and honestly for the giraffe in the future. So, it’s huge,” said Borders.

Watch the full story to see how much lettuce the giraffes go through each day and the important information that Storm Team 4 regularly provides. To learn more about the Columbus Zoo’s Heart of Africa, click here.