Frosty Sr. is ready for retirement after spending decades performing for thousands of people at Sarasota Jungle Gardens.
Frosty has shared the stage with icons of the entertainment world. Now, though, at 82, the sulfur-crested cockatoo, is stepping away from a life of entertaining others and hobnobbing with Hollywood's most famous.
Veterinarians at Sarasota's Jungle Gardens recently determined the feathered octogeiarian's eyesight isn't what used to be and recommended he stop performing in the attraction's bird show. His last shows will be this weekend.
But, like most performer's Frosty's age, he's not quite ready for the old-bird's home.
The exotic bird still has a lot of energy in him, however. He enjoys dancing and working with his trainers to do his aerobic exercises, which keep him active and engaged.
Born June 3, 1936, Frosty was trained in Folsom State Prison in California by inmates who were a part of a rehabilitation program. When the program ended, Jungle Gardens' owner Arthur Allyn purchased Frosty along with other feathered friends. He is the last of the original birds that began performing at Jungle Gardens.
Frosty was already a celebrity when he arrived in Sarasota in 1972.
In the 1960s, he made frequent appearances on the “Ed Sullivan Show” and “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson, sharing the stage with such guests as Sammy Davis Jr., David Seville and the Chipmunks and Charlton Heston.
Frosty’s biggest stunt is hopping aboard a tiny unicycle that he pedals along a wire tightrope while carrying a fellow exotic bird suspended on a trapeze below. He is also adept at navigating around in his tiny scooter.
“It's heartwarming to know that generations of families have been able to share their experiences with Frosty,” said Jungle Gardens Marketing Coordinator Krista Foster. “Several times we’ve had visitors let us know they got to see Frosty when they were 6 years old and now they are bringing their 6-year-olds to see him.”
Now that Frosty is stepping down, Jungle Gardens is training other birds to learn new behaviors that will help them become the show’s rising stars.