Houston Zoo celebrates its Centennial
By Ryan Price
The Houston Zoo just reached its 100th anniversary. The entity, which began with a single American bison named Earl, has since grown into a keystone institution with over 6,000 individual animals and 16 conservation partners across the globe.
“Today, the 30th of April, I designate as Houston Zoo Day,” announced Mayor Slyvester Turner during the Houston Zoo’s Centennial event on April 30.
The centennial event began with keynote speakers, Lee Ehmke, President and CEO of the Houston Zoo, and Turner. They spoke on the history and importance of the zoo in both the determination of the city and the achievement of the conservation projects.
“One-hundred years only comes once, and we’re so excited because there’s so much progress made at the zoo from a standard zoo to a major conservation organization,” Ehkme said when asked afterwards about why the event was so important.
The event included special centennial themed animal-keeper chats, bird house and ice sculpture making, and special “conservation activity” tents designed with kid-friendly activities that encourage environmental conservation.
Houston residents Reina Bowman and her five-year-old son Asher, spoke to the excitement of the event.
“Our favorite part of the event was building the bird houses, it was super fun!” Bowman said.
Bowman went on to say that the zoo had been a major part of her life since she had her children.
“I have wonderful memories with my older two, coming all the time… weekly!”
For most of the interviewed attendees, the highlight of the event was the keeper chats, of which four occurred every hour. Many attended the popular blue-throated macaw keeper chat, where the zookeepers explained how the birds ate, communicated, and what the public could do to help keep the species alive.
Among this crowd was husband and wife Shane and Christina Laxton. For Shane and Christina, the Houston Zoo holds a special place in their hearts as their first date was at the zoo, and they were equally excited to be a part of Houston history.
The Houston Zoo has inspired and encouraged Houston for 100 years and will continue to engage future generations for years to come. Turner said it best in his keynote-speech.
“The Houston Zoo has over 6,000 animals and today, they are not just our animals, they are our residents.”
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