Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

KC topics that don't fit anywhere else.
User avatar
Highlander
Mark Twain Tower
Mark Twain Tower
Posts: 9230
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 1:40 pm
Location: Houston

Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by Highlander »

FangKC wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:30 am
KC Zoo’s new and $10 million improved elephant exhibit to open in May

http://fox4kc.com/2020/02/10/kc-zoos-ne ... en-in-may/
It will be interesting to see how this interacts with the rest of the zoo. It is such a stand-alone exhibit with only one corner of it on the way to anything else at the zoo. What it really needs is a concentration of other animals immediately around it so it is not a singular destination that most people blow off on the way to the Africa exhibit. I thought the best thing for the exhibit would be to turn it into something else and integrate the elephants into the Africa plains exhibit provided there was room to do that.

User avatar
Major KC Fan
Pad site
Pad site
Posts: 64
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 2:20 pm

Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by Major KC Fan »

There’s not enough acreage in the Africa plains area for the African elephants. The AZA has habitat standards that have to be met by members to house African elephants. There is a planned tram stop under construction with the exhibit if the plans announced and information I’ve seen as a member of Friends of the Zoo.

There may be additional information about linkage by new exhibit(s) that will provide a more continuous link to the upper zoo area. Referring to the announced aquarium in the former Valley area.

dukuboy1
Pad site
Pad site
Posts: 90
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2020 12:02 pm

Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by dukuboy1 »

I know other Zoo's, like STL have an entire section dedicated to Elephants that you walk through. It would be nice for them to create a focal exhibit that could house both African & Asian elephants and make it a focal attraction in that area. Call it "Pachyderm Plaza" to create it an experience like African, Australia, etc. The Zoo has room to create wonderful exhibits and I would love from them to really create a world class zoo & destination. A research/education tie-in would really help as well.

User avatar
Major KC Fan
Pad site
Pad site
Posts: 64
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 2:20 pm

Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by Major KC Fan »

Most every zoo I’ve been to, including in Europe have either African or Asian elephants. Both would be cool, though major expense. The zoo tax currently collects only from Jackson and Clay counties, even though I think both Platte and Cass also voted for the tax. Their governing bodies opted to not levy the tax, rejecting the will of the voters-too bad. If you have pets at home you know how expensive it is to feed and provide medical care for them. Now add over 1,000 animals with special diets and sometimes very demanding medical needs. Ideally the Kansas side could step up too, similar to the bi-state tax that funded the Union Station restoration. Of course, state line politics gets in the way of progressive ideas like that. Most people refer to the St. Louis Zoo as an example of a “free” zoo facility but don’t realize they are funded by a regional tax, thus allowing for no charge at the gate.
The zoo is involved in conservation projects around the world and has a department dedicated to education with a conservation emphasis. You can find information on their projects on the website or in person at the zoo. There’s also an information panel on the walkway going from the zoo entrance towards the penguin plaza area. If you want an up close look at the daily life of the zoo you can also pay to be a “keeper for a day”. It’s a very rewarding experience.

flyingember
Mark Twain Tower
Mark Twain Tower
Posts: 8225
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:54 am

Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by flyingember »

Major KC Fan wrote:
Sat Feb 29, 2020 10:43 am
even though I think both Platte and Cass also voted for the tax.
Platte and Cass didn't even put it on the ballot.

http://www.plattecountylandmark.com/Article11469.htm
Platte County Presiding Commissioner Jason Brown told The Landmark a petition seeking placement of the issue on the ballot, with more than 2900 valid signatures, had been presented recently.

Action to put the issue on the ballot would have had to have been taken by the Platte County Commission prior to an Aug. 30 deadline. The commission did not act on the request, never placing it on an agenda.
You were thinking of the ballot petition being ignored

User avatar
Major KC Fan
Pad site
Pad site
Posts: 64
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 2:20 pm

Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by Major KC Fan »

That’s what it was, ignoring the valid petition. Doesn’t seem right to not at least let the voters decide, if a valid petition was presented.

User avatar
Highlander
Mark Twain Tower
Mark Twain Tower
Posts: 9230
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 1:40 pm
Location: Houston

Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by Highlander »

Major KC Fan wrote:
Sat Feb 29, 2020 5:56 pm
That’s what it was, ignoring the valid petition. Doesn’t seem right to not at least let the voters decide, if a valid petition was presented.
The reasoning for not putting it on the ballot didn't make sense.

"A blank check to the Kansas City Zoological District for six months of administrative costs is totally unacceptable,” commented Kathy Dusenbery, first district commissioner.

“Our citizens expect more accountability with their hard earned tax dollars than the provisions of this ballot allowed.”

Sounds like a Johnson County response, how would they even know what the citizens expect unless they are allowed to vote on it. It's basically saying that people in Platte County (and more likely Kathy herself) didn't want to support something that was in Jackson County that they only occasionally visited if at all.

The zoo seems to be doing just fine as it is but it could be so much more if there was metro wide financial support. The acreage it sits on in Swope Park is an absolutely fantastic setting for a zoo. I go every time I'm in town if its not winter (and even though I have lived outside of KC for a long time, I belonged to friends of the zoo for many years).

flyingember
Mark Twain Tower
Mark Twain Tower
Posts: 8225
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:54 am

Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by flyingember »

The zoo’s biggest problem is the same as 20 years ago. Everything is just too far away from the entrance and there aren’t enough winter exhibits

The penguins and sting rays were moves in the right direction.

The continued trend needs to be continually filling in gaps so when you go you see something new. Doesn’t need to be a huge building, it can be a small animal exhibit tailored to the specific space. It can be a sign board with something to read. It can be a tree shaded area with seating for lunch, something seriously lacking across most of the zoo.

User avatar
Major KC Fan
Pad site
Pad site
Posts: 64
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 2:20 pm

Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by Major KC Fan »

There are shaded picnic areas throughout the zoo as well as plenty of shaded indoor or outdoor areas at each of the food facilities (Tuxedo Grill, Australia and several in Africa starting at the main African entry plaza). The diagram of the new elephant viewing area shows several shaded seating options. The accessible playground by the Variety organization next to the hippo area also provides a shaded picnic area. Have you visited the entire zoo in the last year or so?

Cold weather trips to the zoo are best spent on the topside if you want indoor facilities. The Tropics building (original zoo building) can provide an additional warm viewing area close to the penguins and rays. Many of the African animals can go outside if it’s above 55 F.

That being said, there are definitely areas of infill that could be utilized with adequate funding. Adequate funding includes funds to maintain the current facilities and their inhabitants.

flyingember
Mark Twain Tower
Mark Twain Tower
Posts: 8225
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:54 am

Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by flyingember »

Multiple times. It’s too scattered apart. Like if you follow the west side of the African exhibit there’s gaps where even putting a bench would be helpful.

For seating-
The African eatery place, the one at the garaffes, near the new playground is basically it for seating in an area larger than some entire zoos.
When you get down to Australia there’s a small area.
Otherwise it’s all central.


You can go to a Omaha and they have one building that can hold every inch of inside space in KC and the some and there’s multiple buildings after that.

User avatar
Major KC Fan
Pad site
Pad site
Posts: 64
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 2:20 pm

Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by Major KC Fan »

Guess it depends on what you want in the experience. We enjoy the space given for the animals and actually having to search for them in a naturalistic setting vs. exhibits crammed together like a shopping mall. I also don’t go to the zoo for the meal experience, though it is necessary to eat and sit every once in a while if exploring the entire facility.
I think the current layout reflects the large amount of land available for the zoo compared to many other “landlocked” zoos and the fact that it has been expanded since it’s initial opening in 1909. That’s both a blessing and a curse when trying to tie the generational additions together. Kind of like the sprawl of the KC area in general, it reflects our region’s development. Maybe the zoo tram system between the upper and lower zoo areas has helped some residents understand how beneficial a mass transit system can be- saves your aching feet-Ha! Anyway, enjoy what we have for now and support more improvements in the future.

dukuboy1
Pad site
Pad site
Posts: 90
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2020 12:02 pm

Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by dukuboy1 »

The large acreage of the zoo is a blessing and course. I like that it is spread out and allows for walking, and I'd love to see more exhibits in the open spaces. Yes it is a bummer to walk around to see things, and maybe a lack of say a big central exhibit area for families who just want to do one big thing and get out. I get it, sometimes you want an in & out experience. But overall the Zoo being big gives it options. The Omaha Zoo is pretty spread out as well. Improved "mass transit" options and guest services would be nice as well. But you have a good Zoo in place that with the right funding could be excellent easily.

I think it would be nice to put on the ballot again the Zoo Tax support, especially in Johnson County. I live in Clay county & the perks are nice. Plus every time I go I hear people lament at the ticket window that Johnson County was not a county that gets perks. Platte County may change their tune as well, but the more rural areas North of the suburbs might not

flyingember
Mark Twain Tower
Mark Twain Tower
Posts: 8225
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:54 am

Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by flyingember »

Part of the original zoo is still abandoned. It’s there between the tropics building and the elephants.

Open up a new exhibit in the trees where you follow a path fills in space and sticks to the theme.

FOTZ should have an organized plan showing what they would do with more counties coming on board with a tax. They’ve had one recently but can expand on it.

User avatar
Major KC Fan
Pad site
Pad site
Posts: 64
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 2:20 pm

Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by Major KC Fan »

That’s the Valley area I referred to. It was built during the depression and includes the old bear pits among other enclosures. That area that has been proposed for the new aquarium, which would link the Beaks & Feet area with the revamped elephant exhibit. I really like the idea of linking more areas together but would also like some of the area preserved as a historical display of the original method of keeping/displaying the animal collection. Could be a powerful educational tool to advance the current mission of zoos-to preserve and protect endangered animal species. Might also inspire zoo visitors to work for and support conservation efforts for endangered species.

User avatar
Highlander
Mark Twain Tower
Mark Twain Tower
Posts: 9230
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 1:40 pm
Location: Houston

Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by Highlander »

dukuboy1 wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 10:23 am
The large acreage of the zoo is a blessing and course. I like that it is spread out and allows for walking, and I'd love to see more exhibits in the open spaces. Yes it is a bummer to walk around to see things, and maybe a lack of say a big central exhibit area for families who just want to do one big thing and get out. I get it, sometimes you want an in & out experience. But overall the Zoo being big gives it options. The Omaha Zoo is pretty spread out as well. Improved "mass transit" options and guest services would be nice as well. But you have a good Zoo in place that with the right funding could be excellent easily.

I think it would be nice to put on the ballot again the Zoo Tax support, especially in Johnson County. I live in Clay county & the perks are nice. Plus every time I go I hear people lament at the ticket window that Johnson County was not a county that gets perks. Platte County may change their tune as well, but the more rural areas North of the suburbs might not
I love the KC zoo but you are right when identifying one of the major issues. It's not that the zoo is just spread out, the problem is that it has some pretty cool exhibits at the far corners of the zoo with little in between. The zoo has this problem on many scales. Even within the Africa exhibit, there is a lot of walking with nothing to see before the next exhibit is encountered. This is true for the portion of the zoo on the other side of the swinging bridge (Africa forests) and it's true for exhibits like the Chimpanzee. In both cases, the approach needs to be infilled. The zoo does an excellent job infilling around the lions, the same needs to be done for other areas.

Perhaps the most painful part of the zoo is the stretch between the main zoo area and Australia. There is practically nothing there. I would suggest a uniquely Missouri exhibit in that space: Whitetail deer, Elk, black bear, and other local species (opossum, skunk, copperheads, etc...). Those are relatively cheap to build and maintain (except maybe for black bear) and it would fill that space in nicely. Actually, there use to be native species between what is now Australia and the entrance many years ago.

User avatar
Major KC Fan
Pad site
Pad site
Posts: 64
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 2:20 pm

Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by Major KC Fan »

The area between the Australia/Asia area and the Red Barn/playground used to be the Great Ape House. It was demolished a while back even though there was a desire to re-purpose it for historical reasons- a very iconic building. I’ve heard the building had big problems with asbestos and major foundation problems, making it a very expensive refurbishment.
The zoo master plan was for a predator canyon to be constructed on the former ape house site but it seems to have taken a back seat to the aquarium plan. Both infill projects are much needed but I guess there’s only so much funding available, so one project at a time.

User avatar
beautyfromashes
Oak Tower
Oak Tower
Posts: 4974
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2005 11:04 am

Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by beautyfromashes »

Nothing left from my childhood. Surely if you were going to build a zoo in this town, this wouldn’t be what it would be. Separated by river and railroad tracks, far away area needs a boat or sky tram to get to... Might as well have chosen a new location and truly started over. But, KC.

User avatar
grovester
Bryant Building
Bryant Building
Posts: 4062
Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 7:30 pm
Location: KC Metro

Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by grovester »

Kansas Citians are some lazy mofos!

I love the space, I love the walk.

User avatar
Major KC Fan
Pad site
Pad site
Posts: 64
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 2:20 pm

Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by Major KC Fan »

I’m with you! Our zoo is rather unique in its layout, but it’s great exercise and you can visit either a specific geography or take on the entire layout. Get a FOTZ yearly pass and use it as much as you want for exercise with the added bonus of seeing animals you’ll probably never see in the wild. I was lucky enough to go on safari in Africa last year but most people will never do that. Guess that’s why I really appreciate the space a lot of the exhibits provide for the residents.

User avatar
beautyfromashes
Oak Tower
Oak Tower
Posts: 4974
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2005 11:04 am

Re: Fixing the KC Zoo (ongoing)

Post by beautyfromashes »

I’m great with the walking, but would prefer to see animals while I do it. Putting the zoo straddled on a huge cliff and train line means there is a huge disconnect from one part of the zoo to the other. It also makes it very difficult for those with disabilities and children.

Post Reply