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Nex-Tech Zoo Fest is Saturday
zoo slt chinchilla
A chinchilla naps, Wednesday in its new exhibit at Great Bends zoo. The chinchillas and other education animals are now located in the former Aquarium House.

Bowl for the Zoo

Walnut Bowl sponsors a monthly fundraiser for the zoo during its Quarter Mania, from 7-11 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month. Anyone bowling during that time is bowling for the zoo, said Zoo Director Scott Gregory. This month’s event is Wednesday, June 19. The cover charge during Quarter Mania is $7, and “everything else is a quarter.” The cost is 25 cents per game of bowling, shoe rental, medium soda pop, hot dog or popcorn.
Part of the proceeds benefit the zoo’s Raptor Center, where injured birds of prey are rehabilitated.  

Kite season

In her monthly online newsletter for the Raptor Center, Zoo Curator Marge Bowen notes that “kite season” will soon be here.
“We get a lot of Mississippi Kite fledglings into our facility,” Bowen said. “Remember, if you find one on the ground and it doesn’t appear to be injured, leave it alone. Mom and dad are near by.”
Bowen also reports that the Raptor Center successfully rehabilitation and released a red tail hawk. “We also released a great horned owl fledgling. Now all that is left is our one red tail hawk with the amputated wing, doing very well by the way, and our Bald Eagle. The eagle should be ready for release in the next month or so, fingers crossed.”
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The annual Nex-Tech Zoo Fest runs from 1-4 p.m. Saturday, June 8, at the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo. There will be free food and live entertainment for the whole family.
Other Zoo Fest features are treats, games and prizes. Nex-Tech sponsors say there will be over $1,000 in prizes from local merchants, bounce houses, obstacle course, Nex-Tech Express train rides, a zoo scavenger hunt, face painting/tattoos, cupcake walk and cookie decorating.
This event also helps the zoo. Nex-Tech will make a monetary donation, based on attendance. Zoo Director Scott Gregory said the annual donation is a substantial one and plans are to buy playground equipment with this year’s donation. A small playground will be added where the reptile garden used to be.
Renovations are completed at the former Aquarium House, which now houses some of the zoo’s education animals as well as saltwater and freshwater aquariums. Zoo Education Coordinator Danielle Ricklefs will be at what Gregory now calls the “Ed Shed” during Zoo Fest to talk about some of the critters in this building, including chinchillas, bearded dragon, frogs, hedge hog and more.
By the end of the month, the new snake house will be open, Gregory said. The zoo will be getting two Jamaican Boas from a zoo in Jacksonville, Fla., which got them from a zoo in London England. The Jamaican Boa is one of only three species of snakes that have a Species Survival Plan for their conservation. “It’s a rare species; it’s a species of special concern,” he said.
The snakes coming to Great Bend are siblings. When they are older, one will be sent to another zoo, and Great Bend will obtain another Jamaican Boa for breeding.