Zoo starts contest for 1st visitors to use rebuilt boardwalk

Work was still underway on Dickerson Park Zoo's new boardwalk in November 2016. (news archives)
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Dickerson Park Zoo’s rebuilt boardwalk will reopen to the public on April 14. To celebrate, its staff is holding a contest to determine which family will get to take the first stroll on it.

The old bridge made of treated wood went over the pond that once housed alligators or crocodiles. It closed in 2014 because of structural problems. Part of the wood gave way under some walkers, although no one fell in the water or was hurt.

The new boardwalk has a metal span in its middle section to make it stronger. A construction crane put the metal span in place in late November.

The new bridge is wider than the old one. The zoo staff says that will make it easier for people to use it, especially people pushing strollers and people in wheelchairs.

Animals that were in the area spanned by the bridge were moved during construction. Crews, however, got used to working around peacocks, whose homes are nearby.

The grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony of the new boardwalk is scheduled for Friday, April 14, at 10 a.m. If your family is able to be there on that morning, you could enter the zoo’s contest.

The contest involves sharing a story of a family memory from Dickerson Park Zoo. The winning entry will determine the first family to cross the boardwalk after the ribbon cutting. The winning family will also receive a zoo prize package.

“We hear so many fun stories,” public relations and marketing director Joey Powell said in a news release. “Highlighting one of these special stories will make our grand opening celebration more memorable.”

Submissions must be received by 4 p.m. on Friday, April 7. All stories should be emailed to jpowell@dickersonparkzoo.org. Entries should include a contact phone number as well as names of immediate family members. No Facebook submissions will be accepted.

Beginning of boardwalk demolition (Dickerson Park Zoo photo)
Framework goes up on new boardwalk (Dickerson Park Zoo photo)
Roof work in progress along new boardwalk (Dickerson Park Zoo photo)
Boardwalk metal span is in place (Dickerson Park Zoo photo)