(03/26/14) - The Saginaw Children's Zoo is ready to celebrate it's eighty-fifth anniversary. The gates open for the 2014 season on Saturday morning.
"It's huge. We're very excited to have been in the community for this long. Not a lot of zoos make it to 85, so we're very pumped," said Robin Carey, Saginaw Zoo animal collection supervisor.
As part of the celebration, the Zoo is adding more educational programs - and that's only the beginning.
"We're finally unveiling our playground, which is very exciting. We'll have some water features in there for the kids to cool off and a lot of fun equipment, we have a zipline," Carey said.
Special events are planned throughout the summer, including the Brew at the Zoo birthday fund raising bash on June 19. The Zoo is privately funded and faces some financial challenges this season.
"If everyone thought that their electric bills and heating bills were astronomically high this winter, imagine how it was here at the zoo," said Joanie Long, Saginaw Zoo visitor services supervisor.
This year's budget is set for around $860,000, down from $1 million in 2009. The staff hopes Saginaw County voters will help by passing a millage request on the August ballot.
"We've been here for 85, and we need to make it at least another 85," Carey said.
Money aside, the eighty-fifth anniversary will be all about the Saginaw Zoo's animals - with Wedgie the Cockatoo taking center stage.
"She absolutely loves talking to people. She'll generally talk back to you," Carey said.
A few zoo veterans, super scaley and now fully grown, will be on display as well.
"This is Sandra, our red-tailed boa constrictor. She's a big girl, six feet long or so. She's a really nice girl," Carey said.
For much more on the Saginaw Zoo's opening day and eighty-fifth anniversary celebration, click HERE.
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