Surfin’ Safari fundraiser for zoo adds canoe contest

Logan’s Willow Park Zoo operates with some state money, plus an allocation from a local RAPZ tax, revenue from admissions and fundraisers. It receives no budget funds from city government. The zoo’s “Surfin’ Safari” fundraising event is scheduled for Tuesday, July 12, at 7:30 p.m. at the Logan Aquatics Center. “We’re encouraging the public to come and participate in our Surfin’ Safari this year,” said city Parks and Recreation Director Russ Akina. “We’re holding a first time contest, we’re calling it the ‘Crazy Critter Canoe Contest’.” Akina said the canoe needs to be built out of recyclable materials, no more than four feet wide and six feet long and must be able to float the distance of one lane with one navigator . The competition will include different age divisions and will be held in the 50-meter pool at the Aquatics Center. Akina said there will be a $40 entry fee for those entering the canoe race. He said the admission fee to watch the canoe contest is the same as the regular admission cost for the zoo: $2 for adults and $1 for children (under three years of age are admitted free). “All the funds we raise that evening at the Aquatics Center will go toward operation of the Willow Park Zoo. “The zoo has a couple of different resources that help make up its operating budget. It receives funding from the state. There are two zoological institutions in the state that the legislature funds. Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake is one and Willow Park Zoo is the other. “We also receive RAPZ funding from Cache County that is set aside for the zoo.” Akina admitted that with the way the economy has been recently both of those sources of funding have been down. “For that reason we have to work a little bit harder to raise money helping the zoo so that it can stay open. We have a sizeable amount over this next year and a half that we need to try to bridge in order to prevent the zoo from having to scale down and operate as a smaller zoo.” Akina was also a member of the committee that organized Friday’s “Freedom Fire” event in Romney Stadium. “We thought it was very successful. We were quite pleased with the reaction of those attending. It seemed like there was something there for every age group and the feedback we’ve gotten is that people had a really good time.”

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