Kansas Wildlife Exhibit in Riverside getting makeover

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Wichitans have been viewing animals in Riverside Park since 1901.  The existing Kansas Wildlife Exhibit, housing several native animals, was erected in 1988.

It hasn't had a makeover since then.  But work is starting on it now to freshen up the look.

Wichita's Park & Recreation Marketing Director Stacey Hamm said, "This facility was needing some improvements.  And we had a group of individuals from the Riverside neighborhood area who came to us and said they'd like to volunteer and raise moneys in order to help."

Hamm said the animals are being removed to other safe areas while work goes on at the exhibit.  "We'll work on all the steel work. So the poles you see here that are faded, all the cross beams, all of that will have some steel work done."  That includes the wire mesh up now.  She says it'll be replaced with better netting, more secure and easier to view the animals through.  "It is different from what is currently up there. It's sturdier than what we currently have." 

She says the old limestone boulders will be replaced also.  And next spring, Hamm says, some new trees will be planted inside the exhibits.

Hamm said no city money is being used.  "No city money.  This is all being done through, again, through volunteerism and through fund raising efforts."  

She said they've raised about $175,000 of the $200,000 needed to complete the work.   The exhibit is closed until work is done October 20th.

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