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Zoo News: Special activities planned for June Jaunt
Jim "Two Crows" Wallen

The Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo has some special activities planned for June Jaunt, which is this weekend. The zoo is also joining the statewide celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Santa Fe Trail and will be the kick-off venue for the Great Bend Public Library’s Summer Reading Program, “Tail and Tales.”

Friday, June 4, the library will hold its Summer Reading Program kick-off at the zoo from 2-4 p.m. Storyteller Jim Two Crows Wallen will be there at 3 p.m. to relate adventures from Santa Fe Trail.

Wallen is a freelance oral historian who combines his love of history with a good story for his interactive and age-appropriate presentations. He says his stories are carefully researched and his clothing is personally hand-designed and historically accurate.

Zoo Curator and Supervisor Ashley Burdick said that isn’t the only thing going on today, Saturday and Sunday at the zoo.

“Join us for scavenger hunts, storytime and there may even be some special animal appearances (Friday)!” Burdick said. “On Saturday June 5th from 11 a.m. to  3 p.m., join us at the top of each hour to meet the animals that called the Santa Fe Trail home.”

Sunday, June 6, celebrate the one-year anniversary of the arrival of the bison at the zoo. The celebration will run from 10 a.m. to noon and the first lucky visitors will receive a bison plush. Then stay and chat with the keepers about the pair of bison housed at the zoo.

Butterfly House will soon be active

The Butterfly House at the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo is a haven for quiet reflection. Sarah Shirer maintains the flowers there as a Master Gardeners project.

The Master Gardeners took on the Butterfly House as a project a few years ago, finding butterfly friendly plants for the enclosed garden.

Zoo Curator Burdick orders shipments of butterflies every spring. The Butterfly House is stocked with species that are native to Kansas, including Monarchs, Black Swallowtail, Mourning Cloak and Painted Ladies. The zoo only orders Kansas species because a few are bound to escape the enclosed garden every year.

Most years, the flowers are blooming and the butterflies are flitting by Mother’s Day. This year, things got a late start due to cooler weather.

“Because the weather overnight was a bit cooler the last several weeks, we haven’t been able to bring any in,” Burdick said in mid-May. “The first shipment is set to arrive the week of June 7th.”

Zoo Society Glow Ball Tournament

Friday is the last day to sign up for the Great Bend Zoo Society’s Benefit Glow Ball Golf Tournament. This two-person scramble will be held Friday, June 11, at the Lake Barton Golf Club. There will be a 5 p.m. shotgun start. The Front 9 will be a normal scramble, followed by a meal. The Back 9 will be a glow ball scramble.

The tournament is limited to 27 teams. For more information and/or to RSVP, contact Dennis Neeland at, 620-639-0505, or Lori Waters at, 620-639-1442.