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Great Plains Zoo to host Expedition ZooFalls

Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 11:21 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The Great Plains Zoo is gearing up for a big event. Expedition ZooFalls will be taking place Thursday, August 5th.

Matt Eschenbrenner has always had a love for wildlife.

“I grew up on a farm in southeast Missouri, so I’ve always been a big fan of animals,” Eschenbrenner said. “We had one-hundred-and-fifty acres there, and we ran the gamut of critters passing through our land at some points.”

That attachment has only grown as Director of Animal Care and Conservation for the Great Plains Zoo.

“Animal welfare and animal health are two of our biggest driving factors here at the zoo,” Eschenbrenner said.

Matt is using Expedition ZooFalls as a way to improve the quality of life for animals under his watch.

“As a zoo, we’re always torn between opening new exhibits to peak guests’ interest and get them through the gates, but we also have an aging infrastructure here and that needs some love too,” Eschenbrenner said.

All the money brought in by the event will go toward renovating one of the zoo’s oldest exhibits, the black bear habitat. A place Charles the Black Bear has called home for years.

“Charles is one of the oldest black bears we have at the zoo,” Becky Dewitz, Great Plains Zoo President and CEO, said. “When you’re older you start to have arthritis, and other things do come into play, so if we can better accommodate his whole-life needs... that really helps us do what we do best.”

In addition to helping out Charles, Expedition ZooFalls will give guests an opportunity to get up close and personal with their favorite animals.

“We’re going to have a lot of zookeeper chats, you have the ability to go in with the kangaroos, you can feed giraffes, and all these really neat things,” Eschenbrenner said.

For more information about Expedition ZooFalls, as well as to purchase tickets, click here.

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