Parks & Facilities Blog

This months blog is from Hutchinson Zoo

The summer of 2017 has been a busy at the Hutchinson Zoo! The otters have returned! As work is underway on the North American river otter exhibit, our pair, Mike and Jilly, arrived from the Potter Park Zoo in Lansing, Michigan. They are currently housed off exhibit until their final home is completed. This new exhibit has been a long time coming at the zoo and could not have happened without the generous support from the Hutchinson community. We apologize in advance that our otters will not be visible for a few more months, but rest assured the wait will be worth it.

Otters are not the only recent addition at the zoo. The World Biomes Building, formerly the Habitat Building. Is currently under renovation, but portions are still open to the public. Here you will find the Zoo’s brown-banded bamboo shark! This small reef dwelling shark is found off the coast of Indonesia, and sports a striking black and white pattern as juveniles. Most sharks are born live but a section of sharks, which includes bamboo sharks, lay a semi-translucent egg. These eggs are often called a mermaid purse. We chose this species of shark because of their smaller adult size and because they are bred in zoos and aquariums. Shark species are declining in the wild due to overfishing and other unsustainable practices, so it was important to us that the shark did not come from the ocean. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE)  program identifies sharks and rays as species in need of conservation and public engagement. The Hutch Zoo’s newest aquatic resident will facilitate education and fund-raising to support these efforts. Additionally, colorful poison mantella frogs from Madagascar are newly on display in the Biome Building. 

The Discovery Center in the middle of the zoo has also seen recent changes. The black-footed ferret exhibit has been overhauled to feature an “underground” viewing area. New exhibits featuring a kingsnake and, for the first time, big brown bats are now complete. The Hutchinson Civitan has generously provided funding which will allow this two-phase restoration to take place. The second phase will include infrastructure repairs and learn and play elements for children.

Families with children are our primary guests at the Hutchinson Zoo. Recognizing this has influenced a strengthened focus on this group. Future visits will see increased opportunities for family interaction and learning opportunities. Recently, the zoo was awarded a grant from the Hutchinson Community Foundation—Fund for Hutchinson in honor of the Legacy Society to facilitate a revamp of all zoo signage. Our new interpretive signs feature more color and information developed for a younger audience, while remaining engaging to all ages.

This summer we are excited to see you at the zoo! Come and see all the changes—We think you will be surprised at the progress happening daily. None of these improvements would be possible without the support of the community. If you like what you are seeing at the zoo, please become a member, encourage a friend to purchase a membership, ride the train, come to our events, hold an event at the zoo, or pick up something from the gift shop. All of these actions help to support our zoo and continue to fund maintenance and future improvements so we may best serve our visitors and especially the Hutchinson Community!