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Baby giraffe to make grand entrance at central MN zoo

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Visitors will be craning their necks to catch a glimpse of the newest resident at a central Minnesotan zoo.

For the first time, Hemker Park & Zoo in Freeport will be home to a giraffe – with the almost 10-foot-tall baby male set to make its public debut at the "Brew at the Zoo" event from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. next Friday.

His name will also be revealed after he makes his grand entrance at the beer and wine sampling event, the zoo said on its Facebook page, which runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (and you can buy tickets here).

"He is here and we are so excited!!!" the zoo said on Facebook. "He is ready to mingle with you at Brew at the Zoo!!!"

Members of the media were given a sneak peak of the 9-month-old this week.

The St. Cloud Times said that a giraffe has been coveted by the zoo for a longer time, with assistant director Heidi Roering saying her late father, Mark Hemker, had always wanted one, but her mother Joan made their four children promise that each would graduate from a college or university before they would get one.

Their youngest son graduated last summer, clearing the way for a giraffe at the zoo.

The newspaper notes that the zoo has built an elevated deck so that visitors can watch the giraffe being fed at certain times – with lettuce said to be one of his favorite treats.

The Associated Press reports that the giraffe was born to parents in Kansas, with the Roerings saying he might be "standoffish" as he gets used to his new home, but ventures out of his barn more at night.

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