Wright Park Zoo
Wright Park Zoo
History to PresentThe history of Wright Park Zoo dates back to 1926 when the City acquired two North American black bears and raccoons for display. Animal enclosures were scattered throughout the park until mid-1980 was when the zoo was consolidated into approximately four acres in the southwest section of the park. In the mid-1990s, an adjacent motorsports facility closed and the zoo acquired three additional acres for future expansion. The zoo currently is home to about 126 animals representing 30 or so species from almost every continent of the earth and entertains 60,000 visitors a year. In October of 2010, the zoo gained accreditation with the Zoological Association of America (ZAA).
Master PlanThe infrastructure condition of the zoo is at a point that a decision must be made as to the zoo's future.
The decision was made to put out a request for proposals for a master plan for the zoo in July of 2018. Felis Consulting was chosen by staff to develop a master plan for the zoo, and the City Commission approved the project in October.
Felis Consulting started on the analysis phase of the master plan in January of 2019. In February and early March, Felis Consulting and city staff held numerous public engagement sessions to get feedback from the public. Public feedback was also gathered online through CoUrbanize.
After analyzing public engagement sessions, Felis Consulting determined that 87% of respondents were in favor of seeing the zoo improved versus 13% who favored the zoo closing.
The Commission approved the contract with Felis Consulting L.L.C. on January 7th, 2019. However, the Commission advised that they wanted to evaluate public feedback before moving forward with the development of the Master Plan. After analyzing public feedback, the Commission approved the final development of the Master Plan at their meeting on April 1.
Felis Consulting presented the final master plan to the Commission at their meeting on June 17, and the Commission voted to accept the plan.
WPZ Master Plan Full Report
WPZ Master Plan Report Appendices
WPZ Master Plan Phases
- Phase 1 Project Areas
- Phase 2 Project Areas
- Phase 3 Project Areas
- Phase 4 Project Areas
- Phase 5 Project Areas
- Phase 6 Project Areas
- Phase 7 Project Areas
- Master Plan Final Overview Map
Friends of Wright Park ZooWho The Friends Are: The Friends of Wright Park Zoo (FWPZ) and the City of Dodge City work together to make improvements to the zoo. Members are individuals from the community, or surrounding areas, who have an interest in helping the zoo.
The original FWPZ group was established sometime in the early ‘80s and then disbanded around 2009.
The current, active FWPZ group hopes to take over where the previous group left off. The friends are the primary fundraising source for the zoo, and there are big shoes to fill. In the past FWPZ has contributed to various projects including renovating the landscaping at the zoo, providing new and expanded exhibits for the wolves, emu, and tigers, and providing enrichment items for the animals.
By raising awareness of the zoo and fundraising, the hope is to not only create a more enriching environment for the animals in the zoo’s care but to increase the ability of the zoo to educate our community with these unique experiences.
Why Become a Member: Community support is critical to the success of the Wright Park Zoo. By becoming a member, community members can help FWPZ make necessary improvements and create educational opportunities for the community. Essential funding for the zoo comes from the city of Dodge City, but all the extras come from the Friends of Wright Park Zoo.
Benefits include invitations to member-only zoo events, a discount card to local businesses and other member perks.
Sponsoring an Animal: Join the Friends of Wright Park Zoo in sponsoring one of the animals at our zoo! Thousands of dollars are spent each year to maintain the animals and their environments at the zoo. By sponsoring an animal for a year, you can help provide for a variety of animal needs from new exhibits and housing to special dietary needs. Anyone can become an Animal Sponsor, including individuals, families, school groups, and civic organizations. For more information and the list of animals available, please visit the zoo and speak to a Keeper or email the zoo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To download a membership form, click here.
Contact FWPZ: President - Jill Ewy
Friends of Wright Park Zoo
PO Box 923
Dodge City, KS 67801
Follow FWPZ on Facebook by clicking here.