GULF SHORES, Ala. (WKRG) — Getting ready for frigid temperatures takes on new meaning at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. More than 600 animals are depending on it.

On Lemur Island at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, Wednesday seemed like any other day but something is coming. Some of the coldest temperatures to hit this area in years is headed south and all of the zoo animals are about to get a taste of the artic.

“Certainly this is not the weather we are accustomed to but it’s weather we are prepared for or preparing for,” said Zoo Director Joel Hamilton.

Hamilton and his staff already have full-time jobs taking care of goats, gators and giraffes. With the extreme cold headed this way they are doing even more to make sure everyone is protected.

“You can see we have heat lamps up for the birds, the tarps that are up provide windbreaks for them, especially for that cold north wind,” said Hamilton as he walks by the aviary.

Weather-safe housing was built into most of the new enclosures when the zoo moved to the current location almost three years ago but this arctic blast could challenge even that.

“Sort of batten down the hatches, provide the animals heated spaces to go into and areas that are out of the wind and go from there,” said Hamilton.