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On Parenting
Posted at 04:12 PM ET, 05/18/2011

The National Zoo’s Kids’ Farm may be saved

Don’t write the obituary yet: The National Zoo’s Kids’ Farm and Pizza Playground may get a reprieve.

Officials are in late-stage talks with a collection of sponsors who are considering paying $1.5 million in maintenance costs over the next five years, according to Jodi Legge, a National Zoo spokeswoman.

You may remember that earlier this year the Zoo announced plans to close the popular section by this spring to save money.

Nothing is definite yet, and the deal apparently revolves around one sponsor who would take the lead. But Zoo officials are optimistic enough to have postponed a closing date indefinitely.

This is in no small part due to the work of dedicated parents.

The group, led by Jamie Davis Smith, a D.C. mother of three, immediately mobilized after the Zoo announced plans to close down what has become a top family destination in the region.

The group created the “Save the Petting Zoo & Pizza Playground at the National Zoo!” Facebook page where parents traded ideas. Together, they descended on the zoo for what they called a Pet-In.They worked their corporate contacts. They coordinated a fund-raiser where the Great Zucchini and other kids’ performers donated their efforts.

The fund-raiser raised more than $3,400 ($6.03 of which came in the form of change kids brought to donate.)

The money was not nearly enough to keep open the Kids’ Farm, which officials say costs about $250,000 every year to maintain, or the pizza-shaped play area, which is said to need $60,000 in repairs. But it convinced potential sponsors and decision-makers that there were committed fans.

Now it looks like the parents’ next gathering could involve champagne.

Stay tuned.

By  |  04:12 PM ET, 05/18/2011

 
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