Topeka, KS- On Friday, August 30, 2019, the Topeka Zoo and Conservation Center will observe one of the last wishes of its Director Emeritus Gary K. Clarke by opening the zoo for free to the Northeast Kansas community. The wish penned by Gary reads as follows:
“I DO NOT, however, wish to have a public memorial service of any type. If anything, I would prefer a CELEBRATION OF LIFE symbolized by a Free Day at the Topeka Zoological Park with – and this is important – NO speeches, NO tributes, NO eulogy of any kind! This is to be an enjoyable day for families (especially children) at Topeka’s living treasure.”
“This Friday marks the first anniversary of the grand opening of Camp Cowabunga here at the zoo,” said Zoo Director Brendan Wiley. “It’s the perfect day to grant Gary’s wish.” Camp Cowabunga is a safari themed animal exhibit at the Topeka Zoo. “It’s almost an autobiographical story of Gary’s professional life.”
The entire zoo will be open Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Admission will be free for all. A seven minute documentary video will be playing throughout the day in Gary’s Tent at Camp Cowabunga. The video can also be found at www.topekazoo.org . The video describes Gary’s professional careers of a zoo director and safari leader and how those two careers intersected resulting in the Camp Cowabunga experience.