While it may not be lions and tigers and bears, animal expert Jack Hanna will be bringing some special guest with him when he lands at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino at 5 p.m. Sunday.
“People in Biloxi may not get to see a cheetah very often,” Hanna said in an interview with the Sun Herald. “I’m also bringing an echidna, which is the only egg-laying mammal besides the duckbill platypus and I get a lot of joy when I see the eyes get big when people see these animals.”
Hanna is no stranger to the Beau Rivage — he’s been bringing his show to the Coast for years.
“I love coming down to Biloxi, especially the Beau Rivage,” he said. “Casinos have changed a lot over the years and the Beau Rivage has a very family-friendly environment, plus I like the food.”
Hanna is the director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Columbus, Ohio. It’s a job he has held since 1978, when he was the zoo’s director until 1992.
He has made many television appearances on programs such as “Good Morning America,” “Larry King Live” and David Letterman’s shows on both NBC and CBS. He’s also had his own TV shows including “Jack Hanna’s Animal World” and “Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild.” But he said his TV career happened by accident.
“I never wanted or planned to get into TV,” Hanna said. “It started in 1983 when our zoo had the first twin gorillas born in the world and everyone started calling and our zoo was all over TV and they kept coming back and then ‘Good Morning America’ asked me to bring some animals to New York.”
These days, Hanna continues to travel and give lectures and perform his shows for children of all ages, when he’s not spending time with his family. He said he’s hoping his family will continue his legacy.
“I love traveling the world and meeting people,” Hanna said. “My daughter used to do the show with me and now two of my grandchildren are going to start doing the show and not because they are my grand kids, but because they have a love for the animals — I’m goping to stay involved but my family is going to be the ones to carry it on.”
Hear Jack Hanna discuss filming East Africa’s Great Migration:
If you go
Nationwide Presents Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild Live
Beau Rivage Resort & Casino at 875 Beach Blvd. in Biloxi
5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 29
Tickets start at $12 and are available at Ticketmaster.com.