The long-anticipated return of bison to the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo is still months away, but signs of progress can be seen at the site of the future exhibit. Located on the west side of the zoo, the exhibit includes a hay barn and holding pen. Zoo Supervisor Sara Hamlin said the contractors should be done next month.
“There will still be more to do after that,” Hamlin said. City employees will be handling some of the final touches, such as installing water hydrants.
The hay barn will include a small kitchen that zookeepers can use in addition to the kitchen on the other side of the zoo. Hamlin said that ever since the grizzly bear exhibit was expanded the bears have been much more active and as they burn more calories they eat more produce.
The larger bear exhibit and the future bison exhibit are related. Both were announced back in 2016 when the Dorothy M. Morrison Foundation offered two major gifts, then totaling $230,000, for the projects. The Foundation has since donated even more to help see the projects through to completion.
Sidewalks, landscaping and signs were to be included in both exhibits.
Zoo Society annual meeting
This Saturday is the Great Bend Zoological Society’s annual meeting.
“It is too late to RSVP for the dinner but non-RSVPed members are welcome to still attend the business meeting and my talk about my trip to Borneo this summer,” Hamlin said. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at the Columbus Club, 723 Main. A brief business meeting, including the election of board members, will be held.
Saturday, Oct. 26, is the annual Zoo Boo. The zoo will be closed during the day so everyone can complete setting up for the free family event that runs from 6-8 p.m. The animals won’t be out, but there will be scary and spooky fun booths where kids can collect candy from volunteers and city staff.
This year, community members can purchase a $25 VIP pass that includes five tickets allowing holders to go to the front of the line.
The annual event draws a large crowd, but it’s still free to attend even if you don’t buy a VIP pass. If you do want to purchase one, they are available at the City Office, 1209 Williams St.