The Kansas City Zoo threw a party Wednesday to say “Thanks A Million” to Jackson and Clay counties for their support reaching a goal of more than one million visitors in 2016.
The Zoo reached that historical number for the first time in its 107-year history on November 25. That would not have happened without the support received from Clay and Jackson Counties.
“This milestone was achieved through the hard work of Director Randy Wisthoff and all of the associates, board members, volunteers and supporters of the zoo,” County Executive Frank White, Jr. said. “The record number of zoo visitors is an achievement that demonstrates how teamwork, vision and successful long-term planning can come together for the benefit of all citizens in the Kansas City area.”
Clay and Jackson Counties have been integral to the zoo’s success during the last four years. Both counties showed their support for the KC Zoo when the Zoological Tax was passed in 2011. Without the formation of the Zoological District, improvements like Helzberg Penguin Plaza, Orangutan Canopy, Tuxedo Grill and Koala Flats this past summer would not be possible. In gratitude, the Zoo gave residents of the Zoological District, Clay and Jackson counties, reduced pricing on admission and memberships, four complimentary visits to the zoo annually, educational programing through ZooEd and much more.
White said that over the years, the zoo has made many wonderful additions and upgrades to existing habitats that have resulted in today’s world-class zoo. “Visitors from the local area, as well as from around the country and the world, have made the Kansas City Zoo a destination that’s not to be missed. The one millionth visitor was from Waterloo, Iowa.”
“I took my children to the zoo when they were growing up and the tradition has carried on with my grandchildren,” White said. “Thank you, again, for making the most out of a wonderful resource that all of us can enjoy today and well into the future.”
Some of the youngest residents and most avid zoo lovers in Clay and Jackson Counties joined in the celebration. Following a presentation by zoo, county and city officials, and elementary school students from both counties had the unique opportunity to go on the ice shelf and meet our feathered friends beak to beak, seeing King and Gentoo penguins up close inside their artic environment.