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'Brit Spaugh' name returns to Great Bend Zoo
Zoo news
zoo slt reptile garden
Mulch from the Great Bend Compost Site has replaced dirt for the new reptile garden at the zoo. Gregory notes the zoo is going green, and using as many recycled items as possible. Three Eagle Scout candidates are also at work, helping zoo staff winterize exhibits. - photo by Susan Thacker


At some point, Brit Spaugh Zoo underwent a branding change, and started being known at Great Bend Zoo. But in recent days, city officials have reaffirmed the inclusion of the zoo’s founder’s name. City Administrator Howard Partington said the zoo’s name is "Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo."

Zoo Director Scott Gregory said he’s fine with the name change. Brit Spaugh (1901-1966) was a World War II veteran who came home with the idea to create a park and zoo that would delight area children, according to information on the website Get Rural Kansas (

"Within two decades, Spaugh would receive national attention for his zoo. Spaugh was appointed park supervisor in 1935. In 1953, the zoo began with two deer. By 1960, there were more than 500 animals."

Currently, Gregory said a new reptile garden is near completion, and next year when warm weather returns the reptiles will be on display outdoors.

Also new at the zoo is an improved security system that includes 14 cameras installed by P&S Security. One camera will be placed atop a high pole, and zoo visitors will be able to operate that camera for viewing within the Raptor Center, the zoo’s headquarters. Other cameras allow visitors to get a closer look at the vet area, where animal rehab, surgeries and physicals take place.

Gregory said he also hopes the cameras can help put an end to some vandalism that has been going on. The digital cameras are attached to motion detectors, and as soon as motion is detected the cameras start recording. Images are stored for up to a year.

In other news, Gregory said the zoo is working on a new volunteer program; has recently added recycle bins (next to the regular trash receptacles) supplied by Sunflower Diversified Service’s First Step Recycling program; and is seeking donations for indoor and outdoor landscaping. "If anybody has plants they don’t want, we’ll come and pick them up," he said.

The Great Bend Zoological Society recently held its annual meeting and elected two new board members, Dr. Penny Quinn, from Barton Community College, and Chad Lagerman from Northview Nursery.