December 2023 issue

By | November 29, 2023

The DECEMBER 2023 issue includes:

  • Utah welcomes 2023 IAFE Annual Convention, Trade Show
  • Frank Zaitshik evolves Wade Shows
  • Carousel Gardens grows; Christmas season bolsters attendance
  • Jollywood Nights jazzes up Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • Six Flags Fiesta Texas produces new Christmas Carol musical
  • Altitude Trampoline Park continues growth with new locations
  • State Fair of Texas attendance and midway revenue both down
  • More than 900,000 attend the 11-day North Carolina State Fair
  • Robeson Regional Agricultural Fair enjoys a solid run
  • Island H2O Water Park extends operations with Holiday Nights
  • Kalahari breaks ground on its fifth resort
  • New Orleans welcomes World Waterpark Association
  • Amusement Today‘s 2023 Holiday Cooking Guide
  • Jon Eyerly passes at the age of 82
  • Woman of Influence: Alicia Shoults
  • Perspectives on safety displayed along the WWA tradeshow floor
  • PACE Seminar trained more than 50 at Kennywood, in classrooms
  • Auction items sought for AIMS International Safety Seminar … and much more!

A new Camp Snoopy — Zamperla attractions anchor Knott’s Berry Farm investments for 2024

By | December 8, 2023

Knott’s Berry Farm announced the addition of several new Zamperla attractions for Camp Snoopy. These include:

  1. Snoopy’s Tenderpaw Twister Coaster: Family Coaster 155
  2. Sally’s Swing Along: Super Happy Swing 16
  3. Camp Snoopy’s Off-Road Rally: Convoy Dino Jeeps

“Experiencing first rides and first theme park moments as a family, is what Knott’s is all about,” said Jon Storbeck, vice president and general manager. “Our newly reimagined Camp Snoopy will allow parents and kids to ride and play together and be truly immersed in a summer camp experience right alongside the entire Peanuts Gang.”

This project marks three decades that Knott’s Berry Farm and Zamperla have worked together. From family rides to roller coasters the park features many different types of Zamperla attractions.

“We are excited to partner with Knott’s and open these three attractions next year,” said Ramon Rosario, Zamperla’s Sales Director. “All these rides will have a fantastic theme using the Peanuts IP. They will be new experiences for park- goers but themed to fit the great storytelling found at Knott’s Berry Farm.”

The project continues Knott’s Berry Farm’s tradition of designing one of the most unique family areas at a U.S. theme park. Tucked up against Beach Boulevard, Camp Snoopy is home to a wide variety of broad appeal rides and two roller coasters. Snoopy’s Tenderpaw Twister Coaster will be the park’s fourth launch coaster and their first designed especially for kids.

“This project showcases the wide range of attractions in our portfolio and why we are a one-stop shop,” said Adam Sandy, Zamperla’s Roller Coaster Sales & Marketing Director. “At sister park Cedar Point we are working with Cedar Fair on a world-class coaster project in Top Thrill 2 and at Knott’s we are installing a broad appeal coaster and two family rides, all with the Peanuts IP.”

Opens new realms of possibility in VR on December 7

By | December 8, 2023

AUSTIN, Texas — The newest location of Meow Wolf is everywhere… thanks to a collaboration with Mighty Coconut, the independent entertainment studio behind the most beloved and best rated multiplayer experience in virtual reality. Walkabout Mini Golf: Meow Wolf is opening to VR players globally on December 7. Here, players will be invited to putt through portals of possibility to score and explore a wondrous, kaleidoscopic, experimental world of fun-filled play. The course is the 23rd for Walkabout Mini Golf and the first entirely virtual experience for Meow Wolf. 

“Numina is a benevolent, multiversal being that’s interpreting mini golf and virtual reality as just another set of beings, physics and spaces to play within”, said co-founder and senior creative director Caity Kennedy, who co-created the course concept, “This expansive space provides a spectrum of new ways to create and play in a near limitless expressions and I am curious to see how people come together here for new, transformational experiences from near and far!”

The downloadable content (DLC) course will be available for $3.99 USD as an add on to Walkabout Mini Golf (on Meta Quest 2/Pro/3, PlayStation VR2, Steam, and PICO platforms) and includes 18 easy mode and 18 hard mode holes, collectible golf balls to seek out in game, a commemorative putter, Meow Wolf themed avatars for dressing up in the course and anywhere in Walkabout Mini Golf, and is teeming with familiar and new Meow Wolf creatures, colorful flora, mysterious portals, and more gameplay mechanics than any other course to date. 

The behind-the-scenes video released today (here) gives fans of Meow Wolf and Walkabout Mini Golf a first look into new realms of reality where an otherworldly being called Numina communicates with players through the language of mini golf via fanciful, curious, and often mischievous results. The creative collaboration between the artists of Meow Wolf and Mighty Coconut invites mini golfers to expand their game—and their mind. 

The Multiversal Multiplayer Muse
For Walkabout Mini Golf’s third licensed course, Mighty Coconut partnered with Meow Wolf—the perspective-shifting arts and entertainment company that inspires audiences to explore creative possibility and storytelling—for a totally new expression of both Meow Wolf’s IRL immersion and Walkabout’s sense of social presence. 

The whole idea came from within the Walkabout Mini Golf player community, from one player who happened to be the founder of Meow Wolf:

“Bringing Meow Wolf to Walkabout Mini Golf is such an exciting step for us as a storytelling company,” said Vince Kadlubek. “Millions of people every year get to experience the magic of our Meow Wolf worlds by visiting our exhibitions in-person, but now we get to share our artistic worlds with an exponentially larger audience all around the world. This partnership with Mighty Coconut has been an awesome way of unlocking this potential for us.”

Whereas the 2022 courses based on Jim Henson’s LABYRINTH film and Cyan’s classic video game MYST were interpretive in nature—expanding on familiar properties, “Walkabout Mini Golf: Meow Wolf” is a deep co-creation with Meow Wolf’s Caity Kennedy alongside the Mighty Coconut team. The rich and vibrant course is based on a central world in the Meow Wolf Denver location called Numina— a sentient universe attempting to communicate in the peculiar language of mini golf. 

Marla Calico, CFE, President and CEO of the International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE), announces retirement effective December 31, 2024

By | December 7, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — After a memorable tenure marked by innovation and dedication, Marla Calico, CFE, has announced her retirement as the President and CEO of the International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE), effective December 31, 2024. With her leadership, the IAFE has seen unprecedented growth and advancement in the fair and exposition industry.

“As we think of strong foundations and exceptional mentors, one person that comes to mind that has had an impact on all our lives is Marla Calico,” Jo Reynolds, IFMG, CFE, IAFE Board Chair, said. “She has helped build a strong foundation for the Association, many fairs, and countless individuals.”

The search for a new President and CEO will be overseen by a distinguished search committee consisting of the following individuals: 

  • Chair: Jeremy Parsons, IFMG, CFE, Iowa State Fair
  • Jennifer Giesike, IFMG, CFE, Washington Town and Country Fair, MO
  • Jo Reynolds, IFMG, CFE, Warren County Agricultural Association, IA
  • Ken Karns, IFMG, CFE, OC Fair & Event Center, CA
  • Ray Allison, CFE, Indiana State Fair
  • Jaime Navarro, State Fair of Texas
  • Alexcia Jordan, IFMG, CFE, North Idaho State Fair
  • Gene Cassidy, CFE, Eastern States Exposition (The Big E), MA

Parsons, Giesike, Reynolds, Karns, Allison, and Navarro serve as members of the IAFE Executive Committee. Cassidy has previously served a full term on the executive committee. Jordan brings a unique perspective as a Trustee of the IAFE Education Foundation and representing a large segment of IAFE membership — fairs with attendance between 100,000-199,999 — to form a well-rounded search committee. 

“Leading the IAFE has been an incredible privilege and the highlight of my professional career,” remarked Calico. “I am immensely proud of the progress we’ve achieved together, and I am confident that the association is well-positioned for continued success in the future.”

The timeline and procedures for the selection process will be thoroughly outlined in the upcoming weeks. After the start of the new year, a search firm will be engaged to conduct a comprehensive search, ensuring the selection of a qualified candidate who will continue to uphold the IAFE’s mission and values.

“We are deeply grateful to Marla Calico for her outstanding leadership and unwavering dedication to the IAFE,” expressed Jeremy Parsons, Chair of the search committee. “The committee is committed to conducting a thorough and transparent search process to identify the ideal individual to build upon the exceptional legacy left by Marla.”

The Funplex and Lahn Hospitality & Amusement Group celebrate milestone with grand opening ribbon cutting for Wyndham Mount Laurel/Moorestown dual-branded hotel

By | December 7, 2023

MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. — Yesterday marked a historic moment as The Lahn Hospitality & Amusement Group, in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce, proudly hosted the official ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the grand opening of their new dual-branded hotel – Wyndham Mount Laurel/Moorestown. Positioned on the property at The Funplex in Mount Laurel, NJ, this joint endeavor symbolizes a milestone for both The Funplex and the Lahn Hospitality & Amusement Group, reaffirming their commitment to community growth and enhanced entertainment offerings. 

The festivities commenced with a ribbon cutting ceremony, highlighted by speeches from our distinguished keynote speakers. The inspiring words of Kristy Howell, President and CEO of the Burlington County Regional Chamber of Commerce, Stephen Steglik, Mount Laurel, NJ Mayor, Carol A. Murphy Assemblywoman, and CEO of Lahn Hospitality & Amusement Group Brian Williams, set the tone for a momentous occasion, emphasizing the collaborative spirit and significance of this dual-branded venture. 

“As everyone knows here in this room, Mount Laurel is growing.” Stephen Steglik, Mayor of Mount Laurel, New Jersey shared “I want to thank you for investing in our community. Thank you for being a part of Mount Laurel, and its continued growth and success.” 

Guests had the opportunity to explore the hotel’s showroom and partake in tours of the rooms, providing an exclusive glimpse into the LaQuinta and Hawthorn Suites and state-of-the-art facilities.  

In collaboration with Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, the recently unveiled dual-brand hotel seamlessly integrates Wyndham’s upper-midscale La Quinta with the distinguished extended-stay Hawthorn Suites brand. This strategic partnership is crafted to elevate guest experiences through enhanced flexibility and operational efficiency. The hotel boasts a unified lobby, a great contemporary room, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and other premium amenities.  

Among the offerings, 57 rooms showcase the newly updated Hawthorn room design, featuring well-appointed kitchens tailored for extended-stay guests seeking heightened comfort. Additionally, 68 rooms showcase the contemporary room design inspired by La Quinta’s popular Del Sol prototype, adding a touch of fresh sophistication to our accommodations.

Brian Williams, CEO of Lahn Hospitality & Amusement Group shared, “we wouldn’t be here today without the support of the Wyndham team. The La Quinta and Hawthorn brand bring a beautiful facility to our portfolio. The Funplex has been a part of this community for 26 years, and we’re enthusiastic about deepening our engagement with our guests in meaningful ways.” 

The ceremony concluded with an air of anticipation for the increased engagement between The Funplex and its guests, promising an enhanced experience for the community. The unveiling of the dual-branded hotel was more than just a ceremony; it was a celebration of unity, progress, and a promising future for Mount Laurel.  

The Lahn Family extends their gratitude to everyone who contributed to this milestone and looks forward to a prosperous future in collaboration with the Wyndham family. 

Merlin Entertainments and Hasbro reveal rides and attractions for Peppa Pig Theme Park Dallas-Fort Worth

By | December 6, 2023

NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, Texas — Five rides, seven themed playscapes, a water play area and even more oinktastic experiences have been revealed for the PEPPA PIG Theme Park in North Texas, now under construction. Following the successful launch of the PEPPA PIG Theme Park in Florida in 2022, North Richland Hills will host the second standalone theme park in the United States based on the beloved Hasbro preschool franchise. These attractions will create an unforgettable adventure at the new PEPPA PIG Theme Park, opening in 2024.  

As many preschoolers’ first best friend, Peppa encourages kids to explore the world with confidence, treating every first step as a new adventure, from the everyday to the epic. Centrally located in the heart of North Texas, the park will be just a few miles away from the beloved PEPPA PIG World of Play, an indoor attraction which features free roaming play spaces perfectly suited for preschoolers.  

Designed to be the ultimate experience for little ones, the new theme park combines interactive rides and themed playgrounds with character shows and an indoor cinema for climate-controlled entertainment. Every corner of the charming new park is crafted with preschoolers in mind, from their first roller coaster rides and fairground games with the whole family, to a pedal path adventure built just for kids, and a colorful splash pad that celebrates “muddy puddles” jumping fun! Through every experience, families will snort, giggle and create their first theme park memories together with Peppa and her friends.  

Families will ride, soar, and set sail together on five new rides:  

  • Daddy Pig’s Roller Coaster – Take a ride with Daddy Pig in his iconic red car and go on an unexpected adventure when Mr. Bull’s “digging up the road” sends you on a curvy exploration of Daddy Pig’s new shortcut. This family-friendly thrill ride is the perfect first roller coaster for brave little visitors. 
  • Peppa Pig’s Balloon Ride – Hold on tight as you soar into the sky and enjoy amazing views of PEPPA PIG Theme Park on this family-friendly aerial carousel ride.  
  • Grandad Dog’s Pirate Boat Ride – Anchors away! Sail with Grandad Dog on this family boat ride to find his hidden treasure.   
  • Grampy Rabbit’s Dinosaur Adventure – Take a ride on a friendly dinosaur and discover prehistoric surprises around every corner of Grampy Rabbit’s Dinosaur Park. Parents can ride along with their little explorers on this epic dino quest.   
  • Mr. Bull’s High Striker – Once the hammer hits the bell on Mr. Bull’s High Striker, your family will bounce up to the sky. Hold on tight and be prepared for a surprise because, after all, what goes up, must come down!   

Splash, climb and crawl! The fun keeps coming with water play, games and just-my-size playscapes.  

  • Muddy Puddles Splash Pad – Have an oinktastic time with Peppa and George doing their favorite thing: jumping up and down in “muddy puddles.” This lively play area has spouting fountains, slides and other watery surprises to keep the play experiences super fun, splashy and cool on hot days.    
  • Peppa’s Pedal Bike Tour and George’s Tricycle Trail – Little ones will pedal their way through a camping adventure in the woods, through the icy mountains to see the sights and sounds of the great outdoors. Smaller cyclists can enjoy George’s shorter pedal path adventure on tricycles built just for them.   
  • Fun Fair – Meet Peppa and her friends for a fairground adventure full of free games and rides, including Miss Rabbit’s hot air balloon and Mr. Bull’s High Striker ride which take you up into the sky for a bird’s eye view of the theme park.  
  • George’s Fort – Make your way through a maze in Granny Pig’s Garden and discover George’s Fort, just waiting to be explored.   
  • Grandpa Pig’s Greenhouse – Discover what Grandpa Pig is growing – could it be something red and squishy? Or green and round? Slide around his greenhouse and find out.   
  • Peppa Pig’s Treehouse – Climb into Peppa’s not-so-high treehouse, then slide down to the bottom for even more free play fun.  
  • Rebecca Rabbit’s Playground – Get active and find all the ways to play around the rabbit burrows, as you jump, crawl or hop over to explore Rebecca Rabbit’s Playground.   
  • Madame Gazelle’s Nature Trail – Discover what has left mysterious footprints on the ground as you explore the nature trail with Madame Gazelle.   
  • Mr. Potato’s Showtime Arena – Join Peppa and her friends under the canopy at Mr. Potato’s stage with live shows packed full of songs, games, snorts and giggles throughout the day.  
  • The Cinema – Take a break from the sunny fun by watching some of your favorite episodes of PEPPA PIG on the big screen in our indoor cinema. 

Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership members successfully assisted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with the transport of three manatees from Miami Seaquarium to SeaWorld Orlando and ZooTampa at Lowry Park

By | December 6, 2023

MIAMI, Fla. — Under the direction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, members of the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP) assisted in the transport of three manatees from Miami Seaquarium (MSQ) today. The animals were successfully transported to facilities at SeaWorld Orlando and ZooTampa, two of only three critical care centers for manatees in the United States, where they are now undergoing thorough veterinary examinations.

The manatees were each prepared for transport, loaded into specialized transport vehicles, and accompanied by an experienced team of veterinarians and animal care specialists. Transport trucks for this effort were provided by ZooTampa, Clearwater Marine Aquarium and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. 

The manatees transported from MSQ include Romeo, a male, and Juliet, a female weighing over 3,000 pounds. Both animals are over 65 years in age and have resided at MSQ since the late 1950’s.. The pair arrived at MSQ prior to the enactment of the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. After the call of MSQ to provide a better social group for both Romeo and Juliet, ZooTampa contacted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and offered to temporarily care for these two manatees, while the MRP identifies a permanent location for them.

Clarity is an adult female manatee that has resided at MSQ since 2009 when she was rescued due to watercraft-related injuries. Through the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has jurisdiction over Clarity, and the USFWS requested SeaWorld Orlando assume care for her. She will reside at SeaWorld Orlando until a group of MRP experts reviews her case and determines best placement for her at another facility. 

Florida manatees are at risk from natural and human-caused threats, including exposure to the loss of sea grass, red tide, cold stress, disease, boat strikes, crushing by flood gates or locks and entanglement or ingesting of fishing gear.

Members of the MRP that helped with this complicated transport effort include U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, SeaWorld Orlando, ZooTampa, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Bishop Museum of Science and Nature, University of Florida, Mote Marine Lab, Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, and Save the Manatee Club.

The MRP is a cooperative group of non-profit, private, state, and federal entities who work together to advance manatee conservation by partnering in manatee rescue, rehabilitation, release and monitoring, research, and education efforts.

Baynum Amusement Solutions welcomes Andy Maurek as director of amusement solutions

By | December 5, 2023

NEWPORT, Ky. — Baynum Amusement Solutions proudly welcomes Andy Maurek as the Director of their Amusement Division, marking a pivotal addition to the company’s leadership team. Maurek assumes responsibility for developing new business, managing projects, cultivating pivotal client and vendor relationships, and spearheading growth efforts. Maurek will begin at Baynum Amusement Solutions on December 4.

Maurek’s journey commenced over 40 years ago at Hyland Hills Water World, where his hands-on approach and insightful strategies significantly contributed to the park’s iconic reputation. During his seven-year tenure as Vice President of Business Development at Proslide Technologies, Maurek played a pivotal role in driving strategic initiatives that elevated the company to global prominence. His market insights and ability to forge impactful partnerships were instrumental in establishing Proslide as a premier provider of innovative water attractions.

Beyond his professional accomplishments, Maurek’s commitment to industry advancement is evident through his active involvement in esteemed organizations like WWA, IAAPA, E&A, and NASCO. He passionately shares his expertise as a respected educator, contributing significantly to the global waterpark community.

“We are excited to welcome Andy Maurek to our team,” said Walter Bowser, President of Baynum Amusement Solutions. “His extensive industry experience as both an operator and manufacturer coupled with his tenured background in business development allow him to hit the ground running. Andy’s leadership will undoubtedly drive our company’s advancement while enriching the experiences of our clients.”

Maurek’s appointment signifies Baynum Amusement Solutions’ ongoing dedication to delivering unparalleled amusement experiences and reinforces the company’s position as a leader in the industry.

Evergreen Mini Golf Course combines fun with environmental education!

By | December 5, 2023

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Door County, Wisconsin, a popular tourist destination, is home to several miniature golf courses, but the Evergreen Miniature Golf Course that opened there in the village of Fish Creek this year is a unique, 18-hole, completely ADA accessible mini golf course designed and constructed by Adventure Golf & Sports (AGS) using their eco-friendly Modular Advantage System. Unlike traditional mini golf courses built using concrete and adorned with classic props like windmills, oversized chairs, partially sunken sailing ship masts and the like, this course surrounds players with beautiful trees, gardens and educational exhibits about sustainable practices and the environment!

“I wanted a non-traditional course,” says Kerry Johnson, entrepreneurial female owner of the Evergreen Miniature Golf Course. Johnson, a former K-12 school educator explains “…I wanted it really nature-based and nature-themed to reflect the surrounding environment as much as possible but also add some beautiful water elements which they (AGS) did.”

Johnson chose AGS to design and build her course because “They have this amazing product. It’s not really out there anywhere else. Because of the nature theme and focus on environmental education, the eco-friendly qualities of the modular advantage were obviously appealing with what we were trying to convey. I looked other places to see what else was out there and honestly they’re the only ones that have this style course.”

The Modular Advantage Mini Golf System used by AGS to build the course features patented, interlocking, flexible panels made of recycled materials that are permeable for water drainage. Excavation is minimal compared to concrete construction requirements, allowing trees, flora and fauna to remain intact, and the permeability helps eliminate ponding on the mini golf holes for a quick-dry, no mess operation.

Johnson says the average length of the mini golf holes on the Evergreen course run from 24 to 39 feet, so it plays more like a fairways and greens course. “When I go to other miniature golf courses, it’s just a very different quality, a different feel,” says Johnson. “It feels like a higher quality course than the harder cement-based courses… More of a natural feel. And we really like it. We’re really happy with it.

“The ball doesn’t roll fast because it’s not on concrete and carpet…It’s a softer feel. It’s a slower feel…I think some of the people who like our course the most are competitive golfers because it is more like a true putting green style… It looks like an easier course than it is. That is partly intentional because we wanted it ADA accessible throughout the whole course…But most people that play it are surprised at how challenging it is and they enjoy it more because of that.

“One of the things we hear a lot about is that it’s one of the most beautiful courses people have been to. And I think that has a to do with the fact that we kept as many of the pine trees in there. We also have natural-looking water elements so it looks like a natural river, pond and a little waterfall. The idea is to just have it be part of the environment, part of nature. I think we accomplished that really well.          

“…I did want to combine it with some of my educational background. I love to work with students and teach people and I also love the outdoors and nature, so I chose the environment-focused theme. There are educational exhibits and signs throughout that teach people (about these topics)…It’s a supplemental feature. If they just want to play a game of miniature golf that’s okay too, but if they’re waiting around, there’s something to read and learn from and I’ve had a lot of positive response from that…It’s been really fun.

“The main focal point at the entrance to the course is a waterfall. It’s a little waterfall with a river that runs down to the pond towards the front of the course along the highway…It’s a 20 by 40 (foot) pond and we have some pretty fountains down in the pond as well… We light all of those up at night and it looks gorgeous. Aside from the water features, I’d say the trees are probably one of the favorite elements when people come in because they look so grand and beautiful.

“There were a few things I wanted to integrate and be part of the course. We’ve added a Pollinator garden, rain gardens, a Xeriscape garden. We have two ring gardens. One of them was done in partnership with the ecology club at the local high school who helped design it…and then there is also a Xeriscape garden. It’s a type of garden design that requires less water basically…All of the gardens have colorful, educational signs that teach visitors about these concepts. I worked with a local greenhouse that focuses on native plants…And then I did some of my own planting with native annuals and perennials.

“Being a new business owner was very challenging at times, to learn and understand everything and learn how to work with contractors! But it was a great experience… They (AGS) design beautiful courses and I’ve visited plenty of their courses in other places and they really do wonderful work… Their construction crew was awesome. They did such a good job handling all of my questions and concerns and continue to do so to this day. I have nothing but good things to say about the construction crew.”

Intercard installs cashless system in 160 game arcade at largest FEC in the Caribbean

By | December 5, 2023

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Intercard and its business partner Power House Entertainment Group recently installed cashless technology at the 160 game arcade at Sector Sixty6 FEC in Canovanas, Puerto Rico. The largest indoor FEC in the Caribbean, Sector Sixty6 is located in the Outlook 66 mall. In addition to its Arcade Mania sector, the FEC offers electric go-karts, bowling and a ropes course. Power House consulted on design and development of the FEC and oversees the management of Sector Sixty6 and its 100 staff members.

Intercard’s Austin Lacy did the installation on-site in October 2023. This is Intercard’s third arcade project with Power House Entertainment Group.

Wild Zoo Wonderland at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo

By | December 1, 2023

Santa is coming to the Zoo! Join us Wild Zoo Wonderland at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo and say hello to animals on the Indiana Family Farm, Asian Trek including Red Panda Ridge, hear a holiday tale during Story Time, hop aboard the Z.O & O Railroad or Endangered Species Carousel for a free ride, visit Santa Claus and so much more. Start a new family holiday tradition this year at the Zoo.

“We wanted to give guests a chance to see some of their Zoo friends during the holiday season, like Paula the red panda, Loki the Canada lynx, Meeko the otter, and Jethro the goat,” said Rick Schuiteman, Executive Director. “You can even visit Santa in his workshop, brush the goats, touch a stingray, and decorate a holiday cookie. Your little ones won’t want to miss Story Time and hear Twas’ the Night Before Christmas at the Zoo, a story that takes place at our very own Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo.”

The Zoo will host Wild Zoo Wonderland, December 1 – 3, 8 – 10, 15 – 17, 21 – 23, 26 – 30 from 10 am to 3 pm. General admission is $12, Kids 12 & under $10 and FREE for Zoo members.