WRIGHT PARK ZOO MASTER PLAN 2019

DODGE CITY, KANSAS

Seven-acre Wright Park Zoo, located in historic Dodge City, faced an uncertain future—close  down or re-invest in a full renovation. As a city-owned zoo with zero current revenues, Wright Park Zoo relies entirely on the City for operating and capital budgets. Therefore, measuring public interest in re-investment in the zoo was critical to the decision-making, so the master plan included more than 16 public meetings, two digital surveys, and a digital public feedback website to prove support for the future of the zoo—and to gather an understanding of what would be appealing to residents and tourists alike.

From that data, the master plan was created with the goal of improving animal wellness, creating revenues, and creating a strong, clear experiential brand identity focused on the region’s natural and historical significance.

Based on projected revenues and operating expenses, the 10-year plan includes two new thematic zones, Pioneers on the Prairie and Viva Kansas!, with a relocated entry experience (to improve first impressions of the zoo and wayfinding to parking and the entrance) and improved efficiency of back of house service, along with new or expanded and renovated habitats for the North American animals in the Zoo’s care.

Both thematic zones were created with the input from the community and tourists, especially the appeal of the historic nature of the region and the unique cultural influence of the large Hispanic community in Dodge City.

All of the master plan’s improvements are estimated to be implemented at a cost of less than $5 million.

 
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Relocated entry in the Pioneers of the Prairie zone includes efficient entry building with gift shop and toilets overlooking a renovated pond, new domestics barn with goat interaction, and stunning views to adjacent wolf and buffalo exhibits.

Relocated entry in the Pioneers of the Prairie zone includes efficient entry building with gift shop and toilets overlooking a renovated pond, new domestics barn with goat interaction, and stunning views to adjacent wolf and buffalo exhibits.

The Viva Kansas! zone, inspired by the cultural influences of the Hispanic community in Dodge City, features extensive themed gardens (pollinator, sensory, relaxation), adventure play, picnic and party space, food truck, colorful muraling and mosaic tiles—all celebrating the migration of monarch butterflies from Canada through Kansas down to Mexico.

The Viva Kansas! zone, inspired by the cultural influences of the Hispanic community in Dodge City, features extensive themed gardens (pollinator, sensory, relaxation), adventure play, picnic and party space, food truck, colorful muraling and mosaic tiles—all celebrating the migration of monarch butterflies from Canada through Kansas down to Mexico.

River otters anchor the Viva Kansas! zone (along with a renovated aviary walk-in aviary). This new species to the Zoo was incredibly popular in testing, and supports the fun, active, and playful theme of the zone.

River otters anchor the Viva Kansas! zone (along with a renovated aviary walk-in aviary). This new species to the Zoo was incredibly popular in testing, and supports the fun, active, and playful theme of the zone.