Military members and their families poured through the gates of Roosevelt Park Zoo Wednesday as they were welcomed by zoo staff and volunteers to enjoy the day at the zoo and pool for the annual Military Day at the Zoo.
The event included a free meal, free swimming at Roosevelt Park Pool, free access to the waterslide, free entry to the zoo and free rides on the new electrical zoo train. Starting at 11 a.m., military members and their families could visit the animals at the zoo and partake in a lunchtime meal.
Military Day at the Zoo is open to active duty, Guard and Reserve and retired military members. Military members just needed to show their I.D. so they, along with their families, could participate. Food was served from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. and the pool and zoo were open during their normal hours. The event was free for the whole day.
People attending the celebratory day checked in at the counter in the zoo's visitor center where they received a wristband, which was a pass to all of the activities. That way, they only had to show their I.D. one time.
Staci Kenney, Greater Minot Zoological Society coordinator, said the event is typically well attended. "Now that we're back from the flood, we hope to see new people coming in and wanting to see the zoo," she continued. They were hoping that about 2,000 people, maybe more, would attend the event, Kenney said. "The more people we can get out here, the better, since we want to say thank you to our service members."
Having a day like this was a way to say thank you to the military, Kenney said. "It's a nice way for us to give back and we couldn't have asked for a better day," she added.
Bruce Carlson, Military Affairs Committee chairman who was in charge of one of the grills during lunch, said, "We wanted to show support for our military at Minot Air Force Base and the National Guard for all they do to protect our freedom. This is a fun event for military and their families to enjoy the day at our outdoor pool and zoo."
"We just want the military to know they have our support," Kenney added. "It's great to have people come out and see what we have to offer and a cool kick-off for our new electrical train."