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Columbian Park Zoo has a new education center

Mike Loizzo
WBAA Radio

An education center is the newest addition to Lafayette’s Columbian Park Zoo.

Construction for the roughly $400,000 facility began last year. It is located on the southwest corner of the zoo grounds.

Lafayette Parks Superintendent Ted Bumbleburg says now, all the classes and programs can be under one roof.

"We had two or three locations here in the park we were using for summer camps and classes. This brings the animals into the same building, which makes it a lot more convenient for patrons and staff."

He says the zoo’s educational programs had nearly 16,000 participants during 2011.

Credit Mike Loizzo / WBAA Radio
WBAA Radio
A Columbian Park Zoo educator leads children through an interactive demonstration after the dedication of the DeFouw Education Center.

Zoo Director Claudine Laufman says the space will allow them to expand the programs they already offer to school children and the overall community.

"With the classrooms, it will be a multi-use space. When we're not doing specific camps and classes, we'll be doing training sessions. We also hope to hold some brief seminars that we could invite the public to."

Officials dedicated the Bill and Donna DeFouw Education Center Thursday. Donna DeFouw provided the lead gift and additional support came from the Scheumann Family Foundation, Tempest Homes, the Friends of Columbian Park Zoo, and Gary and JoAnne Branson.

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