Hattiesburg Zoo unveiling new exhibits during Birthday Bash - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Hattiesburg Zoo unveiling new exhibits during Birthday Bash

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Monday, the Hattiesburg Zoo gave WDAM the opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at new exhibits coming to the zoo this weekend. It is a part of their annual birthday bash, and this year's event will take on a pink theme.

For 63 years, the Hattiesburg Zoo has brought a world of exotic animals to the Hub City. This coming Saturday, they plan to celebrate this milestone.

"Every year we hold our birthday bash, as we call it, based on the zoo opening on Easter Sunday back in 1950," explained Rick Taylor, Executive Director of the Hattiesburg Convention Commission.

This is the third year for the zoos birthday bash, and as they have done in the past, they plan to unveil several new exhibits. This year's theme, Pretty in Pink, is centered around the new main attraction, 22 Chilean flamingo acquired for Zoo Atlanta.

"This Saturday we will be opening our flamingo exhibit, which we are in front of. As well as adding to our petting zoo, a Zebu exhibit. Zebu are a small cattle from Africa," said Taylor.

As the zoo continues to grow, they are working towards the goal of self-sufficiency. For many years, the zoo has operated on subsides from the city of Hattiesburg.

"The convention commission entered into an agreement in 2009 with the city to begin to operate the zoo, to begin to push its marketing. Try to move to self-sufficiency. We had a 5 year plan for that, but last May, we could see the light at the end of the tunnel," explained Taylor.

They described running a zoo in a city the size of Hattiesburg as a unique challenge. But, it's with new exhibits like they are unveiling Saturday, they hope to grow towards their goal.

"We have made great progress. We have been able to increase income and reduce expense to reduce to subsidy for the zoo about $400,000," said Taylor. "So we are still about $450,000 in terms of subsidy, but it's headed the right way, and we think these new attractions will help bring new people in and continue that trend."

The Hattiesburg Zoo's birthday bash will be from 10 am till 4 pm this Saturday. Tickets can be purchased for $10.

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