The Erie Zoo has awakened from its winter hibernation.

Despite the cold and damp weather, a few of the animals were quite social Thursday.

The Canadian Lynx was out and about. The neighboring Amur Leopard also greeted visitors.

However, the Amur Tiger was not so interested. The big cat opted for a mid-morning nap instead.

Although the zoo opened its gates Thursday, the official grand opening is Saturday, March 3 at 10 a.m. Admission will be free thanks to UPMC Health Plan.

Visitors may catch a rare glimpse of a brand new exhibit.

"We actually will open for one day our brand new lion exhibit," said Scott Mitchell of the Erie Zoo. "It's not quite completed because of the winter, but we'll cut some holes, so people will be able to see our older female in the exhibit. Then, we'll close it again on Sunday and reopen it really full-blown with our new female lions in April."

Saturday's grand opening opening will feature arts and crafts, animal shows and several other activities until 2 p.m. There will also be special surprises.

Volunteers will be on hand to teach visitors about the animals at the zoo.

The zoo will be open daily 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

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