TOLEDO, Ohio — Last week the new Promedica Museum of Natural History at the Toledo Zoo opened.
But, there is a hidden gem inside the museum, that celebrates nature conservation with art.
Tucked in the corner of the second floor of the Museum of Natural history is the newly opened Mazza Gallery.
The room that was formerly the office of the Zoo Director is now displaying 40 pieces of artwork used as illustrations in children's books, showcasing wild animals and zoo life.
The art is part of the University of Findlay's Mazza Museum collection.
Including work from illustrator Lizzy Rockwell, who actually used the Toledo Zoo as visual reference for her new book Zoo Day.
And also in the gallery, activity tables where visiting children can create their own art.
"The museum as a whole is offering quite a bit different, we've got a lot of dioramas to look at. And along those lines, we've got a nice space up here where visitors can come and do a little bit of their own artwork while they're appreciating the artwork that's on the walls," said Kent Bekker, Chief Mission Officer at the Toledo Zoo.
The partnership was facilitated in part through the Mazza Museum's curator Dan Chudzinski.
Dan was one of the first members of ZooTeens, and has kept a working relationship with many zoo administrators.
He said the art not only is diversifying and enriching the experience for zoo visitors, but it is also helping expose the Mazza Museum to a much larger audience.
"The short answer for that, is the zoo can get more people through this room in one day than we can in a year. And so that was a no brainer for us," said Chudzinski.
Chudzinski said the Mazza Gallery is confirmed for the next three years inside of the Museum of Natural History.
They are also currently working on scheduling visiting illustrators and authors to make appearances at the zoo.
The Mazza Gallery at the Toledo Zoo is open anytime the new ProMedica Museum of Natural History is also open to zoo visitors.