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.
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.