The Tautphaus Park Zoological Society (TPZS), the volunteer board that manages the zoo’s largest fundraising events, announced last night that the Idaho Falls Zoo’s popular "Boo at the Zoo," "Zoo Lights," and "Masquerade Ball" events will be canceled this fall due to limitations brought on by COVID-19.
Although the announcement comes as little surprise, it was a difficult decision and a big disappointment to cancel to such fun and family friendly events.
“It was not an easy decision, but unfortunately it was the right decision given this year’s limitations,” says Zoo Director David Pennock.
While the events may seem as easy as opening the gates and putting on a fun costume, there are numerous complex factors that go into successfully organizing one of the city’s largest events and the region’s largest Halloween celebration.
“It takes months and many hours of hard work by several zoo staff and volunteers to make Boo at the Zoo possible each year,” states Pennock. “Just setting up the lights alone takes over four months to install.”
COVID-19 has resulted in significant budget cuts for the zoo, not allowing for the normal number of seasonal support staff to be hired. Also, for health and safety the involvement of volunteers at the zoo this year has been greatly reduced. Additionally, some of the companies and organizations that have participated in the popular events for years are not able to as a result of the impact COVID-19 has had on their business.
“We would like to sincerely thank this year’s wonderful event sponsors who support the zoo,” says TPZS executive director Laurie Gravatt, “At this time, no one knows what the fall months will bring in addition to not having the budget and manpower to make Boo at the Zoo possible. We also felt it was best to cancel an event that brings together over 15,000 people in a small area.”
These events and several others annually put on by TPZS are key fundraisers for the zoo which, along with other donations and contributions, support zoo improvement projects like the William J. Maeck Education Center. However, just because the events aren’t happening doesn’t mean patrons can’t support future projects at the zoo. Zoo supporters can consider contributing to the zoo by donating to TPZS’ zoo fundraising efforts at https://www.tpzs.info/donate
Stay tuned for updates on zoo happenings and events by following the Idaho Falls Zoo’s Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube accounts or visit www.idahofallszoo.org.
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Media Note: For more information or to schedule an interview with zoo staff, contact City of Idaho Falls Public Information Officer, Bud Cranor at 208-612-8306 or at bcrano[email protected].
About Idaho Falls Zoo at Tautphaus Park: With more than 330 individual animals representing 130 species from all around the globe, the Idaho Falls Zoo is known as the “Best Little Zoo in the West.” Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the zoo participates in 44 national Species Survival Plans. Learn more on our website.