April 10, 2020

Boost Your Emu’d


If you’re lucky enough to have met Ralph the emu in person, you already know that he’s quite a character. Known for his curiosity, Ralph loves to approach the edge of the home he shares with our red kangaroos to check out his human visitors! So, while you are temporarily deprived of his stunning golden gaze (and vice versa), we’ve come up with three fun activities to lift everyone’s spirits. Let’s do this!

Zoo to You: Virtual Safari – Ralph's Video Booster



Without a steady parade of guests to entertain him, Ralph the emu is feeling a little emo. Same, Ralph...SAME. So we’re asking his adoring public—that’s YOU—to record a short video greeting for our fine feathered friend. We’ll make an “Emu’d Booster” montage to help lift Ralph’s spirits. Just say a quick “hello” and be sure to mention your name, so Ralph can recognize you on your next visit! Email dztv@denverzoo.org with your video!


Zoo to You: Virtual Safari – Ralph's Feathers



Ralph, like all birds, has feathers covering his body. Feathers are an adaptation—something that helps an animal survive. But not all feathers are the same! For example:

  • An eagle’s feathers help it fly.
  • A penguin’s feathers help it swim and dive.
  • A duck’s feathers help it float on the surface of the water.

But emus don’t swim, float, or fly. So, how do Ralph’s feathers help him? You may have noticed that Ralph’s feathers are earthy in color—the same shade as dirt, brush, and grass. That’s no coincidence! Emus’ feathers help them to blend in with the trees, shrubs, and grasses of their native Australia. This keeps them hidden from predators like dingoes and wedge-tailed eagles.

What other birds can you think of that rely on their feathers for camouflage?


Zoo to You: Virtual Safari – Ralph Craft


A. Start by taking a color walk around your garden or neighborhood. Bring a plastic bag with you, so you can gather “art supplies” along the way. When you look at Ralph, what colors do you see? As you stroll, keep your eyes peeled for those colors in things like:

  • Twigs
  • Grass
  • Acorns
  • Feathers
  • Flowers
  • Pine Cones
  • Dried Leaves
  • Pine Needles
Zoo to You: Virtual Safari – Ralph's Color Palette

B. Download and print this drawing of Ralph—or, better yet, draw your own!

C. Apply a thin layer of glue stick or classroom glue to the paper, inside Ralph’s body and face.

D. Fill in Ralph’s portrait using your natural art supplies! Be sure to focus on the details. For example: what do you think Ralph’s feathers feel like? What natural items could you use to make his mop-like crest? What will you use for his beautiful golden eyes?

TIP: To break down a dried pine cone, wrap in an old t-shirt and roll under your hand—and watch out for any pokey parts!

E. Share the love! Be sure to share your final work of art on social media—and don’t forget to tag us @denverzoo with #ralphrocks. Ralph and his keepers will choose one lucky winner to receive a FREE plushie from Kibongi Market, as soon as we reopen.


Be among the first to hear the latest animal updates, important stories and details about all the fun happening around Denver Zoo.


  • August 8, 2023

    Meet the Flockers

    FASHION INSPO FOR EVERY FLOCK PARTY PERSONA September will be here before you know it, and that means all…

  • July 10, 2023

    What’s New at the Zoo?

    July 10, 2023 UNBEARABLE CUTENESS, NEW PAIRINGS + CREATIVE CRITTERS Say what you will about our "Seattle Summer" thus…

  • November 11, 2021

    Two Denver Zoo Hyenas Test Positive for COVID-19

      On November 5, we confirmed that two of our hyenas-Ngozi, 22, and Kibo, 23-tested positive for the virus…