TOPEKA (KSNT) — As the Topeka Zoo & Conservation Center celebrates its 90th anniversary, it is preparing to open its largest project to date. The Giraffe & Friends exhibit is now set for March 10th.
This project will complete the Topeka Zoo Safari experience. Workers broke ground on the exhibit in 2021 and moved the giraffes into their new enclosure in October.
In a written press release, Topeka Zoo CEO Brendan Wiley said the new exhibit was made possible through the support of guests and community partners.
“Our community continues to show how much they value the Zoo and Gage Park experience,” Wiley said. “We value the support of our community more than anything else. Last year we had record attendances. This year, we are dedicated to continuing the activity trends of community growth and engagement.”
The zoo’s current giraffe exhibit was built in 1966. Zoo director Brendan Wiley says it doesn’t meet current standards and lacks the space the animals need.
The ‘Giraffe and Friends’ exhibit project began in 2018 and the designs were finalized in 2020. This is part of the Topeka Zoo’s master plan which includes introducing new and exciting features to the property while maintaining its foundation as a destination conservation-based education for families in the community.
The Topeka Zoo says it had a record attendance in 2022 with 288,486 guests. Of these, 46% visited people outside of Shawnee County and 60% were over the age of 12; marking it as one of the biggest attractions in Northeast Kansas.