Zoo celebrates 100th anniversary

By Marques White, Weekend morning anchor, reporter, mwhite@wjxt.com
Jason Mealey, Producer, jmealey@wjxt.com
Published On: May 11 2014 04:34:53 PM EDT
Updated On: May 11 2014 11:20:00 PM EDT

VIDEO: The Jacksonville zoo is celebrating it's 100th birthday. Today visitors can enjoy new attractions and a closer look at some of the animals, as staff say more features are coming.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla -

Sunday marked the 100-year anniversary of The Jacksonville Zoo.

Visitors to the zoo could see just about any animal they wanted to including flamingos and parrots.

 Tyler McLendon visited with his mother and his grandmother Betty Ann Tomlinson.
His grandmother says she's been coming here for years.

"I'm 70 years old and I came the first time when I was 4," said Tomlison.

 "I'm Just spending time with my mom and my son. Just quality family time," said Katy McLendon.

That family time  included seeing one exhibit, which seemed to be a favorite on Sunday.

"I like watching the tigers eat," said 10-year-old Jake Brown.

"I haven't seen the tigers before. I haven't really seen them that close," said Kaden Brown.

One of the things that people say they like about the zoo is recent changes that allow people to get closer to the animals and give them a more interactive experience. Staff at the zoo say over the past year  they've been celebrating and having special events.

"100 years, That's special. That shows the community has invested in the zoo. The community loves the zoo. We want to keep this place not just going but growing and getting better every year," said Tony Vecchio, executive director of the Jacksonville Zoo.

Zoo officials say not only have they been entertaining people with the animals, but they've become more animal-and-people friendly over the years.

 The zoo completed its first stage of its Asian expansion with the Asian gardens.
The second stage was the tiger exhibit. It hopes to have a third stage complete with
orangutans in the future.

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