Columbian Park Zoo

Steve Cook /

Lafayette officials are hoping to bring more exotic animals to the Columbian Park Zoo menagerie – including large cats and…

“We’re working right now on building a penguin exhibit,” says Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski, speaking on WBAA’s Ask The Mayor Program. “Because that’s something people want.”

Roswarski says the building costs for a penguin exhibit total about $1.6 million.

Rob George /

Leaders of an effort to repatriate an endangered salamander to Indiana's Blue River say they're ready for the next step -- attempting to make the state's waterways habitable to the animals once again. 

While area conservationists' educational materials frequently paint the hellbender as a cute, smiling cartoon amphibian, the real deal is less adorable but arguably more intriguing.

Purdue-Zoo Partnership Aims To Save The Hellbender

Jun 11, 2015
Rob George /

North America’s largest salamander is disappearing, but Purdue scientists are trying to save it from extinction.

The university is spearheading a conservation effort which involves raising the amphibians in captivity for a few years before releasing them into their natural habitat.

In 2013, a team from the university’s Aquaculture Research Lab collected hellbender eggs from the Blue River in southern Indiana -- currently the only location in the state where the salamander is found.

Columbian Park Zoo has a new education center

Sep 13, 2012
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."

Zoo garden teaches kids about sustainability

Jun 7, 2012
Sam Klemet / WBAA Radio

About 200 children are participating in a summer program where they will learn about gardening and nutrition.

Those from the McAllister Center’s Day camp are spending one day a week throughout the summer working on growing vegetables and other nutritious foods at a small garden at the zoo.

Columbian Park Zoo landscaper Linda Cooper hopes the effort will help the kids embrace a more sustainable way of life.