Zoo prepares for "Blues at the zoo"


Zoo prepares for, "Blues at the zoo"

Zoo prepares for, "Blues at the zoo"

A stampede of 69 children armed with Easter baskets burst across the west green last Saturday upon the shrill shriek of a single whistle. Little did they know, the whistle was meant to call their attention for a review of instructions one last time before starting the members-only egg hunt. Lesson learned. Next year, parents will receive instructions on a piece of paper for their little egg hunters upon check-in.

As something new at the zoo, a small crowd was anticipated with a ballpark figure of 30 registrations. After all, there were other egg hunts in town, most of which proved more affordable when compared to the Friends $10 per child entry fee. That may sound steep, but bottom line, the egg hunt was a fundraiser for zoo improvements.

Nearly 70 children were signed up by the time registration closed. More than 800 Easter eggs were stuffed with special prizes, including a limited number of Richardson Railroad tickets, Safari Cycle rentals, Red Line Trolley tickets and coupons for free dishes of Dippin' Dots. There were even two memberships tucked into the eggs, while the bulk of the eggs were filled with orangutan-friendly sustainable palm oil candies. (Learn more about protecting wild orangutans and other wildlife by Googling sustainable palm oil).

Egg-stravaganza offered attendees a sneak peek of what is in store this summer with Friends of Lee Richardson Zoo. The Red Line Trolley made its unofficial debut and circled through the zoo's drive-through, picking up guests and dropping them off at one of seven designated stops. One of those locations included a stop at the portable Dippin' Dots cart, which was up and running for the first time last Saturday.

Neither the trolley nor the Dippin' Dots cart is in full-time use yet, but will be spotted again at the next zoo happening. Friends of Lee Richardson Zoo are now making final preparations for the first "big" fundraiser of the year. "Blues at the Zoo" is only two weeks away. The event snuck up fast, mostly because it's a month earlier this year. Last year, "The Nighthawks" entertained blues fans on June 10. They return to Lee Richardson Zoo this year on May 10 — which is a Saturday by the way!

Tickets are now available for purchase and can be found on zoo grounds at the Finnup Center, Safari Shoppe and drive-through gate house or off grounds at Patrick Dugan's Coffee House. Admission also can be reserved through will-call tickets, available on the Friends' website. Advance tickets are $10 per person. Admission also will be sold at the gate for $20 per person.

This year 'Blues' will feature two bands. "Fresh Picked Parsley" will stand as the opening act, starting at 6 p.m., when the gates open. "The Nighthawks" will take over at 7 p.m. As in years past, barbecue vendors will be selling their goods including ribs, pulled pork, juicy burgers and classic hot dogs starting at 6 p.m. As vendors will be selling their goods, concert-goers are asked to leave their coolers at home. Blankets and chairs are encouraged.

"Blues at the Zoo" is a family event, so there is no need to find a sitter. Children 5 years and younger get in free. There is always amusement for the little ones on the nearby playground or on the Richardson Railroad, which will be up and running during the event. And who knows, maybe they will even come across an unclaimed Easter egg out on the west green.

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