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Sammy00

Zoo

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Couldn't find this topic anywhere on the site so:

This idea came to mind today when I got a call from a friend who had recently visited the Little Rock Zoo.

Well, anyone who has been there knows it is SEVERELY lacking in pretty much every aspect that matters.

My friend said it hasn't changed much, and is still not very impressive, to put mildly.

That just made me wonder, how would a Zoo fair in NWA?

Personally, I think it would be fantastic.

Zoo's are huge draws, and it would certainly do well during Razorback season.

If NWA opened a nice Zoo, it would do a lot for the recreation side of things up here.

And, if done correctly, it would be the only notable zoo around. Certainly would overtake LR's as the best (just because it's the only one) in the state.

Of course, I know the problem is money, like always.

I can't even begin to imagine the cost. I'm sure opening one from scratch would cost hundreds of millions.

It is a nice thought for the future.

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Couldn't find this topic anywhere on the site so:

This idea came to mind today when I got a call from a friend who had recently visited the Little Rock Zoo.

Well, anyone who has been there knows it is SEVERELY lacking in pretty much every aspect that matters.

My friend said it hasn't changed much, and is still not very impressive, to put mildly.

That just made me wonder, how would a Zoo fair in NWA?

Personally, I think it would be fantastic.

Zoo's are huge draws, and it would certainly do well during Razorback season.

If NWA opened a nice Zoo, it would do a lot for the recreation side of things up here.

And, if done correctly, it would be the only notable zoo around. Certainly would overtake LR's as the best (just because it's the only one) in the state.

Of course, I know the problem is money, like always.

I can't even begin to imagine the cost. I'm sure opening one from scratch would cost hundreds of millions.

It is a nice thought for the future.

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Tyler, TX has a nice zoo and it's a smaller city. It does serve a big part of East Texas, though. It's a smaller zoo but everything is done nicely. I think if they could support a small zoo NWA could as well.

Now, the other issue is that immediate costs are one thing, long-term maintenance is another. Some entity would have to provide annual funding, presumably one of the two counties. The LR Zoo, mediocre as it is, costs $2mil a year in addition to admission fees to maintain.

Initial startup costs would probably run around $80-120 million for land, structures, animals, and employees.

Would a combination of donors be willing to foot the startup costs? NWA has a lot of private donors that could pay a big chunk of it. I would be that no NWA city would pay a sales tax to build it or maintain it. Either county budget could probably handle the burden of an annual zoo budget if a whole county were to fund it.

Regarding the LR Zoo, it's not a "bad" zoo it just has some issues that are tough to fix. One is that it is locked onto a small piece of land. It can't grow unless it gets the land Ray Winder Field sits on and/or part of the War Memorial Golf Course. The other is that the original buildings were built in the 1930s and aren't really ideal for keeping animals in the modern era and they are transitioning to convert these into restaurants, etc. The last, though, is that LR's big money donors have always been more interested in the arts, downtown, and sports (Alltel Arena, Dickey-Stephens Park, etc) and that the city of LR instead of Pulaski Co supports the zoo with tax money, despite the fact that half the state uses it. Priorities in LR for the last 1-2 decades have really focused on downtown and that's actually an investment paying off big dividends.

Still to make a city a nice place to raise kids it helps a lot to have a nice zoo, libraries, parks, children's museum and other amenities like minor league baseball. LR has

That said, the Dallas Zoo ain't much, either. My wife and I usually take our kid to the Ft Worth Zoo, about a 45 min drive. The Dallas Zoo suffers from a lot of the same issues the one in LR does. The Tulsa Zoo's OK, not anything special. I like the one in Memphis and it's an easy day trip from half of Arkansas, just not NWA.

The other thing everyone will learn when you have kids, sometimes a small zoo (or amusement park, etc) is better than a big one. There's nothing in the world worse than dragging a screaming toddler a mile up and down a couple of big hills. and another half mile out to where you parked. Sometime a small zoo, like the one NWA would have, ain't such a bad thing.

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That said, the Dallas Zoo ain't much, either. My wife and I usually take our kid to the Ft Worth Zoo, about a 45 min drive. The Dallas Zoo suffers from a lot of the same issues the one in LR does. The Tulsa Zoo's OK, not anything special. I like the one in Memphis and it's an easy day trip from half of Arkansas, just not NWA.

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The only reason NWA doesn't already have a city zoo and won't be getting one is the same reason NWA doesn't have hundreds of other attractions found in other metros around the country. It's because NWA only provides a place to work, eat and sleep. People come here to make money, not to have fun. Unless your idea of fun is going to a 2nd rate movie theater or playing golf.

Instead of dreaming about what we don't have why don't you go out and support the half decent attractions we do have... like Wild Wilderness Drive-Thru Safari or Turpentine Creek Wildlife Preserve. They may not be "real" zoos but they are "real" and they're all we've got.

Check out their websites and the next time you're dying to go to the zoo, just get in your car and visit them. You won't be too dissapointed. Just remember this is NWA and not Little Rock, Dallas, Tulsa, Memphis or St. Louis.

www.WildWildernessDriveThroughSafari.com

www.TurpentineCreek.org

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The only reason NWA doesn't already have a city zoo and won't be getting one is the same reason NWA doesn't have hundreds of other attractions found in other metros around the country. It's because NWA only provides a place to work, eat and sleep. People come here to make money, not to have fun. Unless your idea of fun is going to a 2nd rate movie theater or playing golf.

Instead of dreaming about what we don't have why don't you go out and support the half decent attractions we do have... like Wild Wilderness Drive-Thru Safari or Turpentine Creek Wildlife Preserve. They may not be "real" zoos but they are "real" and they're all we've got.

Check out their websites and the next time you're dying to go to the zoo, just get in your car and visit them. You won't be too dissapointed. Just remember this is NWA and not Little Rock, Dallas, Tulsa, Memphis or St. Louis.

www.WildWildernessDriveThroughSafari.com

www.TurpentineCreek.org

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I can't believe I had no idea about this drive through safari in Gentry. There's a similar deal near San Antonio I took my son to a couple of times and he loved it. Next time I'm up there, probably football season in Sept, I'll plan on checking it out.

Thanks, masonsdad.

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I hate raining on parades, but the Gentry place is horrible. I don't mean the attraction itself, I have never been, I mean the owners and company.

Ross Wilmoth, 77, owner of the Wild Wilderness Drive Thru Safari in Gentry, Arkansas, settled USDA charges in June 2002 by agreeing to pay $5,000 to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, spend $2,500 on improved training in animal care and nutrition for the safari workers, and spend $2,500 on site improvements. His son Freddy Wilmoth was on May 20 2002 given three years on probation and ordered to pay $10,000 restitution in connection with selling four tigers to Todd and Vicki Lantz of Lazy L Exotics, in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Todd Lantz shot the tigers at his father-in-law's 5-H Ranch, and sold their hides, meat, and other body parts for $4,000, prosecutors said. On August 27 2002, Todd Lantz drew five months in prison. For allegedly falsifying related documents, Vicki Lantz drew six months under home arrest, plus five years on probation.

Personally, I would never so much as drive in front of the place with this in mind. Since there were actual charges filed and settled, this is all researchable and proven.

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I hate raining on parades, but the Gentry place is horrible. I don't mean the attraction itself, I have never been, I mean the owners and company.

Ross Wilmoth, 77, owner of the Wild Wilderness Drive Thru Safari in Gentry, Arkansas, settled USDA charges in June 2002 by agreeing to pay $5,000 to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, spend $2,500 on improved training in animal care and nutrition for the safari workers, and spend $2,500 on site improvements. His son Freddy Wilmoth was on May 20 2002 given three years on probation and ordered to pay $10,000 restitution in connection with selling four tigers to Todd and Vicki Lantz of Lazy L Exotics, in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Todd Lantz shot the tigers at his father-in-law's 5-H Ranch, and sold their hides, meat, and other body parts for $4,000, prosecutors said. On August 27 2002, Todd Lantz drew five months in prison. For allegedly falsifying related documents, Vicki Lantz drew six months under home arrest, plus five years on probation.

Personally, I would never so much as drive in front of the place with this in mind. Since there were actual charges filed and settled, this is all researchable and proven.

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Wow, I don't think I've ever seen the bears! I'll have to watch more closely next time. Hey, masonsdad, have you been lately? The last couple of times I went, the monkeys didn't come out and climb on our car like they always had before (on the drive-through part). That was my favorite part of the visit. I also love that you can go in and pet the kangaroos.

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Little Rock also has to compete with the Memphis Zoo which, as someone said earlier, is a terrific zoo.

Maybe if the Zoo folks launched a campaign to get the whole state (yes, included the NWA contingent) behind the zoo, we would see some actual improvement. In fact, that's probably the only way it's going to happen.

Why the LR Zoo? Why not call it the Arkansas Zoo? It's all about the buy-in factor, folks :D

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Little Rock also has to compete with the Memphis Zoo which, as someone said earlier, is a terrific zoo.

Maybe if the Zoo folks launched a campaign to get the whole state (yes, included the NWA contingent) behind the zoo, we would see some actual improvement. In fact, that's probably the only way it's going to happen.

Why the LR Zoo? Why not call it the Arkansas Zoo? It's all about the buy-in factor, folks :D

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I'm hoping someday we'll call it the Stephens, Dillards or Walton Zoo and it will be in much better shape. They need to give naming rights away if the right person or foundation is willing to ante up.

It serves an area of at least a million and a half people, on any given day the parking lot is full of school buses from school districts as far away as a hundred miles. It is the "Arkansas Zoo". For now I would just like to see the county put money into it instead of just the city. That could really help out its annual funding.

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Sponsorship is fantastic for zoos. Personally, I love the St. Louis Zoo (as well as the rest of the Forest Park complex), and nearly every little section of that is sponsored by a wealthy community member or company, and it has made for a very nice zoo both in the variety of animals it can carry, the habitats it provides, and the overall beauty of the park. I see no reason why something like that wouldn't work here at some point in the future, there are enough generous community members to give a zoo like that a chance.

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Waiting for corporate sponsored attractions like a zoo is a waste of time. Other than the WAC, co-sponsored by the Walton Family Foundation, NWA corporations haven't contributed a [email protected] thing to NWA! Hundreds, if not thousands, of corporations have been located in NWA and we have nothing to show for it. Why should they? They don't even want to be here, except for their dealing with Wal-Mart. All this wishing for a zoo is just making me want to move out of this corporate brothel called Northwest Arkansas and find a nearby metro that actually has everything people in NWA can only wish for. Springfield, MO is looking so much better yet again!

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Waiting for corporate sponsored attractions like a zoo is a waste of time. Other than the WAC, co-sponsored by the Walton Family Foundation, NWA corporations haven't contributed a [email protected] thing to NWA! Hundreds, if not thousands, of corporations have been located in NWA and we have nothing to show for it. Why should they? They don't even want to be here, except for their dealing with Wal-Mart. All this wishing for a zoo is just making me want to move out of this corporate brothel called Northwest Arkansas and find a nearby metro that actually has everything people in NWA can only wish for. Springfield, MO is looking so much better yet again!

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I can't believe I had no idea about this drive through safari in Gentry. There's a similar deal near San Antonio I took my son to a couple of times and he loved it. Next time I'm up there, probably football season in Sept, I'll plan on checking it out.

Thanks, masonsdad.

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Yeah I even took some pics and posted a them and a topic for them sometime last year. It's around here somewhere.

I think we could support a small zoo here, but as usual the problem is just getting someone interesting who has some funds to get things going. So far I guess a zoo just hasn't been on anyone's list of things they want to contribute to. I've even wondered about something like a small aquarium as well. It would be nice to have something along those lines in NWA.

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I don't see the big deal about Springfield, and I'm getting annoyed at the constant "if only we were more like...." statements. Springfield is an unattractive city with seemingly higher crime and more problems than the NWA area. It is a more dense metro, which is why it has the things it has. I think comparisions are foolish, since the NWA "metro" is so spread out, and as a result, has no true center, and no true location for many of these things to be attracted to yet. It's not an issue of Springfield being better, I've been there many, many, many times, and I don't like it at all. I much prefer this area, but it's not a good comparison. You like it, fine, but there's no need to continuously degrade our area because it doesn't have as many aquariums or zoos. Springfield has been big for longer, is more centralized, etc, so the comparisons don't make since.

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If you think Springfield is unatractive then I wonder what you think of NWA.

Here is an idea... Why doesn't everyone just shut up about why their city is better and realize that everyone, usually, loves their hometown.

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If you think Springfield is unatractive then I wonder what you think of NWA.

Here is an idea... Why doesn't everyone just shut up about why their city is better and realize that everyone, usually, loves their hometown.

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Aside from Springfield's downtown area, I feel that the denser areas of Fayetteville and Rogers are attractive, although in different ways. I do feel that the majority of the city area could use some upgrades though. And I agree with what you said. People love their hometown. Fayetteville is not my hometown, but this forum is about NWA, not Springfield, and aside from constructive critcism, I get tired of hearing about it.

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I don't see the big deal about Springfield, and I'm getting annoyed at the constant "if only we were more like...." statements. Springfield is an unattractive city with seemingly higher crime and more problems than the NWA area. It is a more dense metro, which is why it has the things it has. I think comparisions are foolish, since the NWA "metro" is so spread out, and as a result, has no true center, and no true location for many of these things to be attracted to yet. It's not an issue of Springfield being better, I've been there many, many, many times, and I don't like it at all. I much prefer this area, but it's not a good comparison. You like it, fine, but there's no need to continuously degrade our area because it doesn't have as many aquariums or zoos. Springfield has been big for longer, is more centralized, etc, so the comparisons don't make since.

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First of all, saying "if only NWA was more like Springfield" is not degrading to NWA, it's a fact that because of a couple factors NWA will never have many of the attractions that Springfield has, like zoos and aquariums. If NWA does manage to get any of these attractions they will have to be privately funded (Crystal Bridges Museum) whereas Dickerson Park Zoo (an accredited member institution of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums) is publicly funded. Like many amenities that NWA is lacking (public transportation) Springfield has many publicly funded amenities.

Furthermore, as a city Springfield suffers from far less problems than NWA cities in regards to infrastructure, public transportation, regionalism, sprawl, racial tension, and lack of attractions and public amentities, to name a few. While NWA is my home I have to admire how more balanced Springfield is when compared to NWA. Unfortunately, I'm not from NWA so I don't really consider any one city as my hometown, so those of you who are protective of your respective hometowns, I apologize if I don't share your enthusiasms. I like NWA for fewer and fewer reasons these days, but this is where I work so it's my home. When I want to have some serious fun for my family it can be found only a couple hours in any direction.

Springfield is actually a good comparison to the NWA metro for the following reasons:

  • The population of Springfield and NWA's 4 main cities are about the same (NWA actually has a larger population)

  • The urban areas of both metro/cities are about the same size with Springfield's urban area being centrally situated whereas NWA's is spread out in a linear fashion

  • Both have a large public university

  • Both have comparably low crime rates (murder rates over the last couple years are very similar)

  • Both have regional airports with similar passenger counts and connections

  • Both have comparably attractive areas as well as rundown areas

  • Other than NWA's huge Hispanic population both have similar racial diversities

  • Both are limited to only a few large employers with small businesses making up the majority of employment

The only real difference between Springfield and NWA is that Springfield is made up of 1 city whereas NWA is made up of 4 smaller cities that when grouped together are comparable to Springfield. That fact makes NWA hard to comapare to any other city/metro in the country since it is as unique as it is challenging.

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