Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

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IraGlacialis
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Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by IraGlacialis » Wed Nov 09, 2011 6:48 pm

zlohban wrote:I know you city dwellers will be shocked to hear that many suburban and rural families do not go to the Kansas City Zoo because of the lack of easy access to I-435. You all must realize that developers over the last 50 years have looked to interstate access as their money grabbing savior. You only have to look as far as the sports complex, WOF, The Legends, etc. etc..

Why can't a new exit and updated 63rd street corridor be developed for the nervous suburbanites who fear driving through Swope Park. The park needs larger better placed directional signs also.

I have a 1960 KC map that shows all the proposed parkways and interstates. It shows the park being divided by a new Gregory parkway and Manchester parkway, I found most of the proposed routes to be better.
Granted, 435-South could probably add an off-ramp for a more direct way to get onto 63 and the drive made to look nicer, but saying the the zoo is completely out of the way is ludicrous (and that ignoring the fact that a person from the suburbs or small town is just as likely to be coming up/down 71, not 435. As for being nervous, I don't even see what a suburbanite would be scared of coming down the 63rd would be nervous about; you aren't stopping any, you turn into Swope Park before you even hit the residential area, and you get into the parking lot pretty quickly. I hail from an area that is in the rural zone, and nobody I known finds it difficult to get to the zoo. And all of the places you mention are suburban spots; the Plaza is hardly any more accessible than the Zoo, and you have to drive over Troost to get there (if coming from 71). If that's the only thing keeping people from visiting the zoo, that would be a sad state of affair.

Under that mentality, the St. Louis Zoo would have nobody, and your two parking options (unless you are really lucky and get the nearby parallel or diagonal spots) are shelling out $10 for parking or find a street parking spot where you have to walk along an obscure sidewalk-less wooded area. Not to mention that the zoo is free and in the middle of urban STL, you could end up with them hoodlums swarming the spot. But no, it maintains itself as a top destination, especially with those from the suburban County; not to mention if you are coming from someplace like Kirkwood or Fenton, you are not going to exiting directly into the Zoo but getting off at 44, driving up through urban low-income STL, and possibly getting lost in Forest Park.

Seriously, that is a very weak argument, and those who make such arguments are unlikely to visit the place anyways unless it was in Leawood.

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Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by zlohban » Wed Nov 09, 2011 8:56 pm

KCPowercat wrote:Not going to the zoo because of highway access? are you kidding? I can see how that helps say a shopping strip center but its not like there is another zoo....if your kids want to see elephants you say no because of the exit ramp?
I work in the Northland traveling daily to mostly northern Missouri counties, I repeatedly hear about trips to Omaha to visit the zoo, being a big KC supporter I always ask questions about their choices. I often hear that they don't even know where the KC zoo is located. Why go to Omaha? It is talked about, advertised and easy to find. Just the messenger.

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Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by Major KC Fan » Wed Nov 09, 2011 9:27 pm

The signals at Meyer Blvd and Swope Pkwy were dismantled quite a few years ago--probably due to lack of traffic count. I'd like to see the intersection re-signaled with the increased traffic that now enters the park. Greater signage like the entry gates next to Starlight that you pass through on the way to the parking lots would be great at the 63rd Street and Swope Parkway/Meyer Blvd entrances.

For those who are afraid to drive the short distance from 63rd/I-435 to the park entrance--please grow some!! I agree that 63rd Street could be improved, but the last thing Swope Park needs are any additional streets crossing through the park--please leave it as natural as possible.

I enter the park from Johnson County using 71 north from I-435 to Meyer Blvd and then east to the park entrance. It's a pleasant drive down a historic boulevard lined with modest housing that is generally in good repair and looks to be mostly owner-occupied.

As I stated in an earlier post, there is a 20 year plan for the zoo that is under way--I attended a viewing for members of FOTZ last year, where members of the planning team were available to answer questions. The plan overall is pretty exciting, even though it involves tearing down the old Ape House structure--it was explained that the building is full of asbestos and has structural problems. Maybe with this new infusion of funds a way can be found to clean it up and stabilize it for some kind of continued use. It's an iconic structure that signified the zoo for many years.

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Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by zlohban » Wed Nov 09, 2011 9:29 pm

I know this is not the place for this topic. Much of KCMO's bad rap comes from so called relocation specialists. Transferred here 10yrs ago I was given an OPKS agent who wasted no time telling me the horrors of KCMO, the roads, the schools, the crime, etc.. She continued to state many clients wont locate north of 435 (south leg)!

I became very unpopular with my company paid agent as I insisted on KCMO but ended up in Liberty because these experts could not explain how the school districts on the Missouri side worked but they could vouch for Liberty. I travel but those I work with in a Leawood office won't travel on any road that doesn't look similar to College Blvd. or 135th.. Sad but true.

Anyway they won't go to the zoo or Liberty for that matter (often saying, don't you wish you lived down here?) and they will forever spread the KCMO myths.

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Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by IraGlacialis » Wed Nov 09, 2011 9:48 pm

zlohban wrote: Anyway they won't go to the zoo or Liberty for that matter (often saying, don't you wish you lived down here?) and they will forever spread the KCMO myths.
Pity.
In which case, as mentioned before, no matter what is done some people are going to be entrenched in their viewpoints and will keep bringing up excuses rivaling those of conspiracy theorists.

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Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by IraGlacialis » Wed Nov 09, 2011 10:56 pm

As for filling and updating the zoo itself, how does this idea sound?
Take all of the animals on the east side of the lagoon and move them over with the rest of the African critters on the west side, possibly on the other side of the bridge with the elephants. This would especially ensure those walking to the Africa exhibit will not find a break in animals.
Clear the east bank (except for a couple trees for shad and to block the duckweed pond) and convert it to a western/interior US exhibit. The area along the bank would be a natural prairie that will contain pronghorn and bison; the decked walkway could go on through there to allow for a continuation of the safari-type of exhibition. Also in that area will be other western species such as prairie dogs, burrowing owls, and maybe even prairie chicken, sage grouse, and black-footed ferret.
Actually have varied waterfowl and such regularly in the Lagoon.
Instead of just that outdoor line of cages of birds you see towards the elephants, have a large full-scale indoor bird house that is climate controlled so you can see the birds all-year round. Adjacent to the bird house can be a reptile house; the crocodile would be moved into there. Both would be around the size of, or just a bit smaller than, the tropics house. Attached to both of them can be a large greenhouse that can serve as another tropics exhibit along the liens of an aviary. A bug house (not necessarily there) won't hurt either.
On the other side of course some things would need touching up. Upgrade the big cat exhibit in a very comprehensive manner.
Most of all, upgrade the Australia section. Have a house devoted to the unique Oceania mammals, namely monotremes. Update the aviary so that it is also climate-controlled. For bonus attraction points, acquire birds-of-paradise, and if they aren't going to go towards the bird house, have them for that aviary.
While we have Australiasia covered, a Sundaland house could also fit int there, with creatures such as pangolins and colugos.
A penguin house would also be towards the Australia section.

EDIT: On another note, a sound wall along the trains tracks would probably go a long ways. There is just some irony when there is a sign that says "quiet around the animals", and a freight train barrels by.
Last edited by IraGlacialis on Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by FangKC » Wed Nov 09, 2011 11:49 pm

It's probably in the interest of the real estate agent to scare people out of KCMO to more expensive homes on the Kansas side to up their sales commission.

Real estate agents also tend to want to work in small area so they don't have to drive clear across town to show a house.

I think the air tram across the zoo will help a lot with the long-distance complaint people seem to have about walking between exhibits.

People don't seem to think that it's better for the animals to have the larger, natural pens though.

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Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by IraGlacialis » Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:48 am

FangKC wrote: People don't seem to think that it's better for the animals to have the larger, natural pens though.
There is a fine line that needs to be considered when thinking about the pen for an animal. Yes a good distance is needed to allow the animal to be able to exercise, as well as to allow for a good distance between it and the spectators so it can feel secure; added space of course needed if multiple animals are being exhibited for territorial concerns (for example, a herd of antelope have different space concerns than a couple warthogs). Plus, what is always needs are sources of enrichment to keep that animal's mind sharp and from it becoming bored; it can be in the form of toys, things to climb upon, etc. At the same time, however, it needs to be able to be maintained easily and practically. Also, as food is being brought to it, there is less need to roam, and as there are no predators or competitors, there is less of a need to flee.
The key is to make these animals comfortable and healthy in a practical manner, which doesn't necessarily have to mean a wide expanse with lots of vegetation; in many cases, an animal would be more comfortable in a relatively spartan exhibit as long as all of it requirements are met (food, water, climate, proper flight distance, enrichment, and hiding places) vs one in a weed-choked yard. At the same time, if you are able to meet all the goals and have a natural enclosure that is also easy to maintain, all the better. And if you are wanting to have a breeding program in place, many species do need more of a natural setting and/or a natural live diet.

But yeah, wanting smaller pens so you don't want to walk as much or so you can always see the animal is an extremely selfish way of thinking. And some of the exhibits, at least since I was last there, definitely need an overhaul and possible expansion (the leopard comes to mind).
On the same token, considering the space this zoo has, it is very possible to consolidate and concentrate many of these exhibit without loss of quality for the animals.

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Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by GRID » Thu Nov 10, 2011 1:48 am

zlohban wrote:I know this is not the place for this topic. Much of KCMO's bad rap comes from so called relocation specialists. Transferred here 10yrs ago I was given an OPKS agent who wasted no time telling me the horrors of KCMO, the roads, the schools, the crime, etc.. She continued to state many clients wont locate north of 435 (south leg)!

I became very unpopular with my company paid agent as I insisted on KCMO but ended up in Liberty because these experts could not explain how the school districts on the Missouri side worked but they could vouch for Liberty. I travel but those I work with in a Leawood office won't travel on any road that doesn't look similar to College Blvd. or 135th.. Sad but true.

Anyway they won't go to the zoo or Liberty for that matter (often saying, don't you wish you lived down here?) and they will forever spread the KCMO myths.
Why is it that when I say this, I'm a lying kansas hating asshole, but when others say it, it's okay. Just curious.

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Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by GRID » Thu Nov 10, 2011 1:50 am

FangKC wrote:It's probably in the interest of the real estate agent to scare people out of KCMO to more expensive homes on the Kansas side to up their sales commission.

Real estate agents also tend to want to work in small area so they don't have to drive clear across town to show a house.

I think the air tram across the zoo will help a lot with the long-distance complaint people seem to have about walking between exhibits.

People don't seem to think that it's better for the animals to have the larger, natural pens though.
I rode the aerial tram last time I was in KC. It crosses a rather lifeless part of africa. I'm sure they can't have the animals directly under the skyway, but it seems like they could bring them a little closer.

That's a very nice addition to the zoo BTW.

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Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by KCMax » Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:44 am

GRID wrote:
zlohban wrote:I know this is not the place for this topic. Much of KCMO's bad rap comes from so called relocation specialists. Transferred here 10yrs ago I was given an OPKS agent who wasted no time telling me the horrors of KCMO, the roads, the schools, the crime, etc.. She continued to state many clients wont locate north of 435 (south leg)!

I became very unpopular with my company paid agent as I insisted on KCMO but ended up in Liberty because these experts could not explain how the school districts on the Missouri side worked but they could vouch for Liberty. I travel but those I work with in a Leawood office won't travel on any road that doesn't look similar to College Blvd. or 135th.. Sad but true.

Anyway they won't go to the zoo or Liberty for that matter (often saying, don't you wish you lived down here?) and they will forever spread the KCMO myths.
Why is it that when I say this, I'm a lying kansas hating asshole, but when others say it, it's okay. Just curious.
Because you say it all the time, non-stop, and use every subject as an excuse to bash Kansas.

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Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by GRID » Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:13 am

KCMax wrote:
GRID wrote:
zlohban wrote:I know this is not the place for this topic. Much of KCMO's bad rap comes from so called relocation specialists. Transferred here 10yrs ago I was given an OPKS agent who wasted no time telling me the horrors of KCMO, the roads, the schools, the crime, etc.. She continued to state many clients wont locate north of 435 (south leg)!

I became very unpopular with my company paid agent as I insisted on KCMO but ended up in Liberty because these experts could not explain how the school districts on the Missouri side worked but they could vouch for Liberty. I travel but those I work with in a Leawood office won't travel on any road that doesn't look similar to College Blvd. or 135th.. Sad but true.

Anyway they won't go to the zoo or Liberty for that matter (often saying, don't you wish you lived down here?) and they will forever spread the KCMO myths.
Why is it that when I say this, I'm a lying kansas hating asshole, but when others say it, it's okay. Just curious.
Because you say it all the time, non-stop, and use every subject as an excuse to bash Kansas.
Maybe if everybody in KC didn't pretend like it's not a problem, it wouldn't be such a big problem there. And it's a pretty big problem there.

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Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by KC-wildcat » Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:46 am

zlohban wrote:
I work in the Northland traveling daily to mostly northern Missouri counties, I repeatedly hear about trips to Omaha to visit the zoo, being a big KC supporter I always ask questions about their choices. I often hear that they don't even know where the KC zoo is located. Why go to Omaha? It is talked about, advertised and easy to find. Just the messenger.
People go to the Omaha Zoo because it's world class. People talk about the Omaha Zoo because it's world class. People don't talk about it because it's got fantastic highway access and plenty of parking.

It's really pretty simple. The Zoo will become a "destination" when it is a world class attraction.

It has absolutely ZERO to do with ease of finding. It takes 3.5 hours to get to Omaha. It takes 20 minutes to look at your GPS and get to KCZoo.

Hell, it's much more time intensive to get from South JoCo to the Plaza/Nelson-Atkins. But, people still manage to make the drive becase... those are world class destinations.

If you build it... They will come.

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Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by IraGlacialis » Thu Nov 10, 2011 1:13 pm

KC-wildcat wrote:
zlohban wrote: I work in the Northland traveling daily to mostly northern Missouri counties, I repeatedly hear about trips to Omaha to visit the zoo, being a big KC supporter I always ask questions about their choices. I often hear that they don't even know where the KC zoo is located. Why go to Omaha? It is talked about, advertised and easy to find. Just the messenger.
People go to the Omaha Zoo because it's world class. People talk about the Omaha Zoo because it's world class. People don't talk about it because it's got fantastic highway access and plenty of parking.
Exactly. Looking at the website, I can see why people would wax positive about Omaha's zoo.
Omaha may be a smaller city and metro than KC, but the zoo itself is way more comprehensive than what the KC zoo is now.
There is a greater selection of animals, especially your critically-endangered species. And the only reason it is allowed to have those critical species is because it has a strong conservation program and lab (yes, I am still beating that drum).
There is a number of exhibits that are unique (notably the desert dome) and aren't reliant on the weather, allowing one to visit anytime of the year.
And it has visible support, such as with Mutual of Omaha (they already fund that documentary, so it would make sense for them to fund something closer to home).

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Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by mean » Thu Nov 10, 2011 3:45 pm

GRID wrote:I'm sure they can't have the animals directly under the skyway, but it seems like they could bring them a little closer.
They do in Omaha...

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Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by aknowledgeableperson » Thu Nov 10, 2011 3:53 pm

KC-wildcat wrote:It has absolutely ZERO to do with ease of finding.
The San Diego Zoo, the last time I looked, was in the middle of a park. The St. Louis Zoo is in the middle of a park. Both are close to highway access. Both are in a situation much like the zoo here. If people want to go they will find it.

With regards to the neighborhood coming from the west down Meyer it is not scary at all. Same goes for Swope Parkway from the north. Gregory from the east doesn't come close to being scary. What the zoo probably needs is better signage, maybe its own signage separate from other park signage.

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Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by kboish » Thu Nov 10, 2011 5:36 pm

signage would would be very helpful for alot of things in this city.

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Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by chingon » Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:06 pm

Really?

Aren't there signs in Swope Park already? I mean, how far away should people start being directed to the Zoo? I can maybe see a highway exit sign, some exit ramp arrows or whatever, but doesn't everybody use their little phone thingies anyway? At some point the juice isn't worth the squeeze.

Are there people who are just driving around in a residential slum who would be like "O, shit, I just saw a sign that says the Zoo is right there! I had no idea. Let's go!"?

It seems to me like everyone who goes to the Zoo basically planned on going to the Zoo that day.

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Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by aknowledgeableperson » Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:40 pm

It seems to me like everyone who goes to the Zoo basically planned on going to the Zoo that day.
Yes. And they probably know it is in Swope Park. What they just might not know is where in Swope Park.

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Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by IraGlacialis » Fri Nov 11, 2011 12:01 am

On a similar point about access, is it really too much to ask to have some sidewalks to connect the zoo with the rest of the park? Say you coming from the direction of the community center or the Meyer entrance; IMHO, when you two options are walking in the road (where a lot of people don't exactly drive at a leisurely pace) or cutting across a stubbly (and possibly wet depending on the weather or time of day) yard, something seems... I dunno... slightly amiss.
But then again, a whole point could be made about the entire park needing sidewalks and paths.

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