November 5, 2018
Writer: Bryanna Willis

This was an exciting season for the Idaho Falls Zoo at Tautphaus Park. The zoo has had a larger number of people attend their annual Boo at the Zoo events and an education center is in the process of being built.

With more than 15,100 people who attended Boo at the Zoo over the three days, Sunny Katseanes, the education curator for the zoo, largely attributes this to a larger amount of awareness in the community.

Name Change and Boo at the Zoo

The zoo recently changed its name from the Tautphaus Park Zoo to the Idaho Falls Zoo at Tautphaus Park. Katseanes said the Idaho Falls Zoo was actually what the zoo was called until the early 1990s.

With the rebranding, they decided to go back to the historic name. Katseanes told BYU-Idaho Radio this probably helped with spreading awareness in the community and contributed to the large turn-out for events the last few years.

On the last day of Boo at the Zoo they had 6,400 people show up, making it the most highly attended day of Boo at the Zoo ever.

“Wasn’t that crazy?” Katseanes said. “That was by far the biggest boo at the zoo we have ever had!”

They had more vendors, lights, booths and activities with the same number of parking spots.

“That was a big of a challenge,” Katseanes said chuckling.

Upcoming Education Center and Furture Plans

Looking into the future Katseanes said the building of the education center is like the beginning of the new zoo.

With the bigger center they plan to bring in guest speakers and have three classrooms with office space.

“Most exciting, and I know it sounds crazy, but we are most thrilled about having bathrooms and running water,” Katseanes said. “We have never had that in our education facility.”

They hope to have additional staff and hold more classes with classes of different age ranges being held at the same time.

Katseanes said this would be good because a parent wouldn’t have to go to the facility at different times to accommodate their childrens’ classes.

The zoo recently acquired five acres of land that was formerly the Bonneville County Fairgrounds.

Katseanes said they have a lot of drafts of what they would like to do with the space, but have no set plans yet.

The zoo will open again April 6, 2019. Visit their website for more information.