Celebrating 40 Years of the Cape May County Park & ZooLast Edited:
The Cape May County Park & Zoo has been a family-friendly staple in the community since 1978 and this weekend they are celebrating 40 years of fun.
The Cape May County Park & Zoo has changed quite a bit since it first opened its gates four decades ago.
“We’ve grown incredibly over the years," said Ed Runyon, park director at Cape May County Park & Zoo. "We started off with just one acre of land up here at the front of the zoo and over the years we’ve expanded up to 52 acres, and we have over 550 animals here at the zoo.”
The facility houses 550 animals of 250 species, all in different habitats around the park, to give families a closer look at the creatures for absolutely no cost at all.
“It’s a unique thing to have in this area definitely," said Runyon. "The Board of Chosen Freeholders started this back in 1978 to give something back to the people, [to] have something to enjoy while they’re here, something additional to the park. It’s very unique to have a zoo of this size and a zoo to be free in this area at all.”
The free park and zoo relies on donations to help keep habitats up and running and to also build new ones.
In 2017 they welcomed an estimated 600,000 visitors to the park that some say has become a top tourism destination in the state.
“We are definitely not in shortage of anything," said Runyon. "Our educational department that Kendra runs is a vast amount of different programs that we do.”
The 40th Anniversary fun will begin on Saturday, June 9th, at 10 a.m. and will continue throughout the day as they also celebrate Conservation Day.
“It’s a huge day for us at the zoo," said Kendra Verity, education curator at the Cape May County Park & Zoo. "We’re trying to raise awareness for our endangered species that we have here in the zoo.”
Local organizations will set up tables and displays around the zoo to help educate guests on those endangered species.
“We have some girl scout groups, some boy scouts, Bass Pro Shops will be here," said Verity. "They have all sponsored an animal. They’ll be setting up a table there to raise funds for that specific species and then those donations will be set out to their conservation funds.”
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