Clanton Elementary School students, faculty and staff attended a ceremony Thursday at the Birmingham Zoo recognizing Chilton County for its peaches, which are featured in a new exhibit in the Children’s Zoo.
Clanton Elementary School students, faculty and staff attended a ceremony Thursday at the Birmingham Zoo recognizing Chilton County for its peaches, which are featured in a new exhibit in the Children’s Zoo.

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Students attend unveiling of peach exhibit at Birmingham Zoo

Published 11:18pm Friday, August 29, 2014

Nearly 750 students from Clanton Elementary School traveled to the Birmingham Zoo on Aug. 28 to attend a ceremony recognizing Chilton County peaches in a new exhibit in the Children’s Zoo.

Students, parents and CES faculty and staff watched as zoo officials unveiled a plaque in front of the exhibit featuring newly planted peach trees.

The plaque provides a description of peach trees and diagrams of each part of the trees (leaf, fruit, flower and bark).

Chilton County accounts for about 80 percent of the state’s peaches, which are the official state tree fruit of Alabama.

“They recognized peach farmers and the peach industry in Chilton County,” CES Principal Rebecca Threlkeld said. “The weather was beautiful, and we had a perfect day.”

The peach tree exhibit is one of several exhibits the zoo has added in recent years to highlight some of the state’s most prominent resources, including marble from Sylacauga.

Threlkeld said Gary Gray, a Regional Extension Agent in Commercial Agriculture with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, spoke about the county’s peaches during the ceremony.

“He said that they planted the peach trees about two weeks ago,” CES second grader Ethan Jones said.

Jones and classmate Maia Tyus said they enjoyed the trip to the zoo.

After the ceremony, all of the students had a chance to visit animal exhibits, ride the zoo’s train and carousel and play in the water.

“It was exciting,” CES student Maia Tyus, 7, said. “My favorite part was the merry-go-round.”

Elephants, monkeys, turtles, fish and giraffes were among the animals students were able to see, Jones said.

“It was really good,” Jones said, “And we got to be on the news.”

Thursday’s field trip wasn’t the first time Jones and Tyus had been to the zoo, and both said they want to return.

“I want to go back today,” Jones said.

The school was invited to the zoo for the ceremony.

The field trip was free for all CES students, and the school’s Parent Teacher Organization paid for 14 buses to transport students and faculty members Thursday.

Threlkeld thanked the Clanton Police Department for escorting the group to and from the zoo and staying on zoo grounds during the trip.

Threlkeld also thanked the Chilton County Board of Education for approving the trip and the parents who attended.

“We had a wonderful time,” Threlkeld said.

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