Discovery Barn Open June 29

The first phase of the Kansas City Zoo’s new KidZone – featuring the Discovery Barn – opened to the public on Thursday, June 29.

It features exotic, small-animal exhibits, including thought-provoking ring-tailed lemurs, colorful Prevost’s squirrels and macaws, squirrel monkeys, agouti and marine toads, and kids’ favorites – meerkats. The Discovery Barn allows children and adults to view these amazing creatures close-up. It also features an air-conditioned climate that offers great relief from the summer heat, and will allow winter programming as well. There is an elevator, restrooms on both floors, and kids will love the two-story slide. Parents will appreciate the cozy area as a place to relax and let the kids have fun.

The exciting renovation of the former Red Barn is being funded by bond money that Kansas City, Mo., voters approved for Zoo improvements in April 2004. Construction has been managed by the Capital Improvements Management Office (CIMO) of the City of Kansas City, Mo. The complete $30 million bond package is paying for the barn improvements; a new shortcut to Africa, dubbed the Promenade (scheduled to open in late July); a complete make-over of the original 1909 Tropics building (set to open in summer 2007); a state-of-the art polar bear exhibit (scheduled for summer 2009); and a long list of deferred maintenance projects.

In May the Zoo launched the first section of the new Promenade, a wide pathway that will eventually reduce the walk to the Africa section of the Zoo to approximately seven minutes. The Promenade also will serve as a “Main Street,” and will allow quick access to featured exhibits. “This is going to be a great summer at the Zoo,” Zoo Director Randy Wisthoff said, coincidentally on the first full day of summer. “We can’t wait for you to experience these new, fun features.”