Zoo B Que to raise funds for big cats

August 23, 2018

MICHIGAN CITY — Washington Park Zoo plans to expand its big cat exhibits with help from its annual Zoo-B-Que fundraiser.

On Saturday from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m., the zoo, which is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, will hold its annual family friendly cookout event with proceeds designated toward its tiger and lions.

If funded, the plan would extend the Bengal tiger’s livable area by about 25 feet while doubling the size of the lions den.

“The big cat exhibit is one of the zoo’s star attractions and we are all very excited about the project,” said Shawne Sheldon, retail manager of the Washington Park Zoo

In addition to a larger habitat, the cats would also get a glass observation area in place of the bars that are currently installed, allowing the animals more relaxation with less noise from visiting guests. The glass not only benefits the felines, but also the humans by allowing patrons to get even closer when viewing the exhibit.

Washington Park Zoo has been a focal point in Michigan City for 90 years, according to officials, with the zoo hosting 100,000 guests in 2017 alone, and the numbers continuing to rise.

Zoo-B-Que is an annual family friendly cookout that funds much needed support for animal care and enclosure expansions. The event this year will include a wide range of activities, such as catering, beverages, door prizes and auctions.

Participants can also enjoy attractions normally off limits to the general public, such as a behind the scenes look inside the big cat cages, the fallow deer exhibit, the animal care clinic, the zoo’s animal dietary needs kitchen, along with access to other closed sectors. Keepers will also bring animals out of their enclosures to join in on the fun including the baby gator and armadillo with special species on display courtesy of Silly Safari.

Food and soft drinks are included in the ticket price with beer and wine available via cash bar. Tickets are available via eventbrite. The cost is $15 for adults and $10 for children.

The event will take place at Washington Park Zoo, which is located at 115 Lake Shore Drive in Michigan City.

For more information, call (219) 873-1510, or go to www.washingtonparkzoo.com.

—From staff reports

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