You're never too old to rediscover Lee Richardson Zoo

7/12/2013

Lee Richardson Zoo provides "wild" amusement at any age. Children are not required for adults to receive admission into the zoo. Yet, I still come across the occasional individual who tells me that they have not been to the zoo in 20 years because their children are grown and living in the Little Apple. While Legos and Polly Pocket may become outgrown with time, a love for animals does not.

Lee Richardson Zoo provides "wild" amusement at any age. Children are not required for adults to receive admission into the zoo. Yet, I still come across the occasional individual who tells me that they have not been to the zoo in 20 years because their children are grown and living in the Little Apple. While Legos and Polly Pocket may become outgrown with time, a love for animals does not.

There are locals who stop visiting the zoo once they discover their nest is empty. If this is the case, feel free to bring a comfort blanket. Borrow a child. Maybe a niece, nephew or neighbor, as long as you've asked their parents first. Perhaps the idea of borrowing a child sounds humorous, but I've had guests inform me that they have done so when looking for an excuse to watch the elephants splash in their pool.

It is time to rediscover Lee Richardson Zoo. I promise no one will point because you entered the zoo without a diaper bag and decided to take a morning jog in the African Plains, through the Americas and on into Wild Asia. Rediscover the calm atmosphere our animal ambassadors call home and take a walk, run or even join in on the giraffe feeding — if you are so bold — at 1:30 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday during the summer season. There is always something to do at the zoo.

Maybe you would like to bike through the park, but would prefer not to bike across Mary Street, Kansas Avenue and Fulton Street in the process. Rent a cycle at the zoo. Friends of Lee Richardson Zoo recently expanded the Safari Cycle fleet. More commonly known as a surrey, a Safari Cycle is a light, four-wheeled, pedal-powered carriage with seats facing forward. Safari Cycles provide a recreational opportunity, while still offering animal viewing. Cycles are rented by-the-hour with choices to rent a single bench for $18 (seats up to three adults and two children), double bench for $28 (seats up to six adults and two children) or a triple bench for $38 (seats up to nine adults and two children). Additional rental hours cost $7 each.

While a select few guests raise their eyebrows at our rental rates, we rarely have to remind guests that there is no admission fee at Lee Richardson Zoo. Profit generated from Safari Cycles is reinvested in zoo projects, improvements and new exhibits. Basically, with more peddlers exploring the zoo, we will see more fund-raising goals reached in shorter time spans. Additionally, we offer 10 percent off rentals to members and also a members' punch card. Purchase four rentals and get the fifth for free. Not a member? Visit www.folrz.com to become one today. Memberships are good for one year, following the purchase date. Member benefits include free drive-through along with Safari Shoppe discounts and more.

Last Saturday, for example, Friends of Lee Richardson Zoo members were invited to the second Summer Safari Saturday of the season. As part of membership appreciation, Friends offer three members-only tours a year. Offered on the first Saturday of June, July and August, the tours offer a behind-the-scenes glance of Lee Richardson Zoo and highlights different animals during each tour. There is no charge for this tour, but RSVPs are requested. This month's tour was "Blueprints to Pawprints" and offered a sneak-peek at the new Cat Canyon exhibit and a behind-the-scenes look at the current Cats of the Americas exhibit. The next tour is themed "Flock to the Park" and is scheduled at 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 3. Members will get a birds-eye-view of the aviary during the tour.

So, when looking for a reason to visit the zoo, there is no need to knock on your neighbors' front doors. Children are not required. Do feel free to invite the neighborhood children, as long as you are not interrupting a teddy bear tea party.

Your safari awaits. Swing by the zoo today. There is always something new on the horizon at Lee Richardson Zoo. What's next then? Before long, the distant echo of a whistle will be heard throughout the zoo.

All aboard!

Brian Nelson is the Friends of Lee Richardson Zoo executive director. You may contact him at director@forlz.com. For more information about Friends of Lee Richardson Zoo, visit www.folrz.com.

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