Special Delivery

Prime primate pair debuts

SAT 7/31 Perhaps Parrot Jungle Island (1111 Parrot Jungle Trail, Watson Island) should drop the "Parrot" from its name and simply go by Jungle Island. More occurs there than just shows featuring colorful squawking birds rolling around on tiny skates and little bicycles. A lot of wild animals -- Komodo dragons, Bengal tigers, Arctic wolves, and an immense crocodile dubbed Crocosaurus -- call the place home. Some of them have even started families.

To wit: A set of female fraternal twin orangutans was born there last December. The girls, weighing a svelte 7 and 8 pounds respectively, are sort of a big deal. The last time an orangutan in captivity gave birth to twins was nearly 20 years ago at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. Our wee primates, who sport fashionable newborn-size diapers, are already expressing their individuality. The larger one is a bigger eater and sound sleeper. The smaller one is slightly hyper, curious, and prone to naps.

The hairy gals were introduced to the public last week during a celebration which included free admission to the attraction for twins and a "Name the Babies" contest. Our vote: Mary-Kate and Ashley. The winning names will be announced today. See them from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily. Admission is $24.95 for adults; $19.95 for kids. Call 305-258-6453. -- Nina Korman

Spice World

Fest makes a zesty weekend

SAT 7/31 The Zingerberales order contains some of the tastiest and loveliest plant families, including those featured in favorite pan-Asian meals: bananas, cardamom, turmeric, and ginger, plus the pretty heliconias or birds of paradise. Medieval Europeans desperately searched for a spicy shortcut to Asia. Floridians luckily only have to travel as far as Ginger Fest at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (10901 Old Cutler Rd., Coral Gables). Among the scheduled events: a field trip, workshops and conference, a plant sale, and tours around Fairchild. Cost is $50 for either the field trip or workshops and conference. Admission to other events is $10 for adults. The fest runs from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today and tomorrow. Call 305-667-1651. -- Margaret Griffis

 
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