Zoo Bans Smoking And Vaping Beginning On Sunday
The Sedgwick County Zoo will implement a no smoking and vaping policy starting March 1.
For the last few decades, the zoo has offered three designated smoking areas. Now, it wants to offer a healthier environment for visitors, employees and the animals.
Jennica King, the Sedgwick County Zoo’s marketing and public relations manager, said the zoo had always planned to get rid of smoking.
It decided to act now because there are many other changes happening as part of the zoo’s new master plan.
“We wanted to go ahead and launch that now before spring break and this upcoming summer season when we’re … the busiest,” King said, “and help our community sort of get used to that policy ahead of our new entry opening next year, and our new leopard habitat.”
King also says the zoo – one of the largest tourist attractions in the state -- has a responsibility to keep the environment healthy for visiting children.
Visitors can still smoke in the parking lot. An easier system has been introduced so visitors who smoke or vape can exit the zoo for smoke breaks and later re-enter.
As for adult, after-hours events at the zoo, officials say they will decide those on a case-by-case basis.
“A popular area of Zoobilee is the cigar lounge,” King said. “That’ll still be there. People will still be able to smoke their cigars at Zoobilee.”
Nicole Grimes is an intern in the KMUW News Lab.