Homestead - South Dade

Want to spice up your sex life? Get help from an unlikely source — the zoo

Zoo Miami ambassador Ron Magill holds up a large walrus penis bone during his “Sex & the Animals” presentation several years ago. After a three-year hiatus, Magill will give his well-known presentation on Feb. 3, 2018.
Zoo Miami ambassador Ron Magill holds up a large walrus penis bone during his “Sex & the Animals” presentation several years ago. After a three-year hiatus, Magill will give his well-known presentation on Feb. 3, 2018. MIAMI HERALD FILE

It’s not every day a walrus penis bone, the size of a baseball bat, is passed around a room.

And when was the last time you heard the mating call of a Galápagos tortoise?

Or did you know a male rhinoceros can be mounted to a female rhinoceros for an hour and perform in two- to five-minute stretches for the entire time?

While many people might cringe at these little known facts, Zoo Miami ambassador Ron Magill says humans have a lot to learn from animals — especially about sex. So, after a three-year hiatus, Magill is bringing back his popular presentation “Sex & the Animals,” which he first gave more than 30 years ago.

“Sex is a wonderful gift for two consenting adults,” said Magill, who for years presented the talk to a sold-out crowd around Valentine’s Day. “We can learn a lot from animals because they are doing what comes naturally. You can’t get any more natural than nature.”

This 21-and-older talk, planned for Saturday, Feb. 3, at the zoo, uses jokes, props, hundreds of pictures, videos and even animal noises to explore an often taboo topic.

Magill’sgoal: “Lighten everybody up and get them laughing.”

animals(4)
Miami Zoo Ambassador Ron Magill imitates the mating process of lovebirds (shown on screen) at his annual “Sex & the Animals” presentation several years ago. After a three-year hiatus, Magill will give his well-known presentation on Feb. 3, 2018. Miami Herald File

“It’s a shame sex has been given a dirty name,” he said. “People need to learn to laugh at themselves. It’s really humbling for men in the audience because the men don’t stand a chance when I start putting the animal stuff up on the board.”

And for those who have been through it, Magill has accomplished his goal.

“It’s one of those presentations you are just smiling through the whole thing,” said Darlene Evans, a radio DJ who has attended the sex talk several times. “It’s the perfect date night.”

Rafael Murciano, a photojournalist, said the first time he saw Magill’s presentation was about 30 years ago, and back then he vowed he’d come back again and again.

“He shows how similar people are to animals in a hilarious way,” he said. “He has a sense of humor like no one else.”

Magill came up with the idea more than 30 years ago after realizing that scientists aren’t usually the best public speakers. The zoo director at the time was trying to attract new visitors, so Magill said let’s try something “a bit out there.”

“If you go to the zoo on any given day, animals are having sex and that becomes the No. 1 attraction,” he said. “People are naturally curious. And no one is going to judge you at the zoo.”

Magill, who has worked at the zoo for more than three decades, became well known locally and nationally after his presentation was featured in newspapers and television programs. He began delivering his talk around the United States. And some zoos followed with there own takes on the idea.

About three years ago, he decided to take a break.

“Frankly, I was a bit burned out,” he said.

But then he started getting requests and realized it was a great way to raise money for the “Ron Magill Conservation Endowment,” which supports conservation and education programs at the zoo.

Magill said that this year’s presentation — which will begin with wine and cheese (a way to loosen people up, Magill said) — includes new images, many of which he has taken in his own travels, including a photo of lions mating in the Serengeti. But he said he’s kept one of the most important parts of the show — humor.

“Sex doesn’t always have to be that serious,” he said.

Lions Mating
Zoo Miami ambassador Ron Magill will use a photo he took in 2017 of lions mating in the Serengeti during his “Sex & the Animals” presentation on Feb. 3, 2018. Handout/Ron Magill

If you go

What: “Sex & the Animals” presentation

When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3

Where: Sami Family Amphitheater at Zoo Miami, 12400 SW 152 St.

Who: Must be 21 or older to attend

Cost: $45, which includes wine and cheese. Tickets for Zoo Miami Foundation members are $40.

Information: Visit zoomiami.org or call 305-251- 0400.

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