Fundraising for Cat Canyon began after completion of the Kansas Waters and Swift Fox exhibits in 2005. The $1 million exhibit provides a larger, more natural habitat for the zoo’s cougar, bobcats and jaguars. These cats were previously housed in the Cats of the America exhibit – an earlier Friends project completed in 1981. Designed by WDM architects, funds were raised through donor drives, special events, grant writing and two theatrical shows. "Cat Tales" premiered in 2009, followed by "Animal Crackers in my Zoop!" in 2010, both directed by Doral 'Skip' Mancini. A groundbreaking ceremony took place on August 2, 2012, with construction immediately following. The grand opening occured September 22, 2013 with a ribbon cutting celebration.
NEW PRIMATES EXHIBIT SOON
In order to add more space for our primates and more viewing entertainment for our visitors, plans for a new primate exhibit at Lee Richardson Zoo is in the works. We have an earnest need to upgrade and expand our current exhibit and behind-the-scenes animal management area. The exhibit will prove more interactive for visitors and will potentially provide another playground station for children. The new exhibit will provide more than double the space of our current primate habitat, currently occupied by spider monkeys and lemurs. That means lots more room for swinging, climbing and playing primates.
FRIENDS OF LEE RICHARDSON ZOO PROJECT HISTORY
In 1919, George Finnup donated 105 acres of land for a park in memory of his father, Frederick Finnup. The Zoo was later established in 1927 with two skunks brought in by Lee Richardson, the Chief of Police and Park and Zoo Superintendent. On April 26th 1950, the Zoo was formally named Lee Richardson Zoo. Garden City Friends of the Zoo was established in 1975.
Below you will find a timeline with some of the most important and historical events that have taken place at Lee Richardson Zoo. Hover over a year to explore.