By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
It’s turkey (vulture) time!
This metal “turkey vulture” sculpture by Great Bend artist Bob Mix is near the real vulture exhibit at the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo. This Saturday is International Vulture Awareness Day, and there will be a keeper chat at the vulture exhibit at 1:30 p.m. - photo by Susan Thacker

The first Saturday in September is always International Turkey Vulture Day, an ecological observance aimed at raising awareness. The celebration recognizes the importance of vultures in our ecosystem. The Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo will mark the day with a keeper chat near the vulture exhibit. It is located at the southeast end of the zoo, near a metal vulture created by Great Bend artist Bob Mix.

Vultures are a significant part of our ecosystem. Zoo Curator & Supervisor Ashley Burdick said that although “they get a bad rap, vultures are intelligent and because they eat carrion (deceased animals) they are vital in helping clean up waste that can transmit diseases.

According to the national calendar of days ( “During ancient times, they constituted a significant iconography for many mythological gods. One of the most prominent examples is Nekhbet, a goddess and patron of Ancient Egypt. Ancient Egyptian royalty even wore vulture crowns, one of the most recognizable pieces of archaic clothing, as a form of protection. In many ancient South American civilizations, vultures were a significant symbol.”

Playground update

The shipping was delayed for the much-anticipated new playground equipment at the zoo. Now, Burdick said, “we’re hoping for the end of September for it to be done.”

The Great Bend Zoological Society and other local groups helped fund the play area that will feature a wheelchair-accessible swing and other pieces. Some of the old playground equipment has been recycled for use inside the animal exhibits. Look from a red swing in the lemur exhibit.

Later, gaters

It may seem hot to humans, but recent cool evenings prompted the zoo staff to move the alligators Alvin and Allister into their winter quarters on August 26. According to the Facebook pages ( Alligators typically stop feeding when temperatures get below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Since we need Alvin and Allister to be a little food motivated to come inside, we decided to bring them in since the evenings are cooling off. If we waited too long, we may not have been able to get them in their winter building. We were also able to measure them, Alvin is 9 feet 6 inches and Allister is 6 feet 5 inches. Check them out using the viewing window on the south side of their building on your next visit!

Open for Labor Day

The zoo will be open on Labor Day for during its regular hours. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is free.