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Celebrating Its 50th Birthday, Sedgwick County Zoo Unveils New Entry Plaza And Future Plans

Nadya Faulx
Attendees of Thursday's ribbon cutting ceremony stand in front of the Sedgwick County Zoo's new entryway.

The Sedgwick County Zoo officially opened its new entryway to the public on Thursday, one of several upgrades the zoo has planned as it turns 50 years old.

The $10 million plaza, which took about two years to complete, was the first major project under the zoo’s 25-year master plan.

“The opening of this new beautiful face of the zoo is the perfect way to celebrate our 50th birthday and kick off the zoo’s next 50 years,” said zoo executive director Jeff Ettling.

Credit Nadya Faulx
Zoo executive director Jeff Ettling speaks at Thursday's event.

He said the entry complex was designed with “conservation and sustainability in mind”: Windows have ultraviolet coating to prevent bird collisions, and the parking lot has six electric vehicle chargers.

“The entire zoo is powered by 100% wind and solar energy,” he said.

The zoo released an updated master plan in 2018, along with a large capital campaign to fund projects around zoo.

Later this year, the zoo will open its expanded Asian cats exhibit for its Amur and snow leopards. Next year, the zoo plans to open a new aquarium exhibit featuring stingrays and sharks the public can interact with.

Nadya Faulx is KMUW's Digital News Editor and Reporter, which means she splits her time between working on-air and working online, managing news on KMUW.org, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. She joined KMUW in 2015 after working for a newspaper in western North Dakota. Before that she was a diversity intern at NPR in Washington, D.C.