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Zoo "Spinning" with Excitement over New Attraction

Endangered species carousel to open this Friday


The "coming soon" sign is about to come down and visitors need not wait any longer for the zoo's newest attraction.

The ABQ BioPark, New Mexico BioPark Society and Mayor Richard Berry will host the grand opening of the T. Kevin McNicholas Endangered Species Carousel at 10:15 a.m. on March 25 at the Zoo.

"We are proud to announce the grand opening of the T. Kevin McNicholas Endangered Species Carousel," said Rick Janser, director of the ABQ BioPark. "This beautiful carousel features endangered species from all around the world and also includes native Southwest species like the Mexican gray wolf and horned lizard. Visitors will love the beautifully hand-crafted animals."

The carousel has 30 endangered species including a Western lowland gorilla, white rhino, Mexican gray wolf, Asian elephant and one-of-a-kind Tasmanian devil, which was specially created for the ABQ BioPark. All animals are hand-painted and carved by Chance Rides. It also features a spinning tub for kids and an ADA-accessible swan chariot.

Carousel tickets are $2 per ride, with all proceeds going to the New Mexico BioPark Society. It will operate from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily, weather permitting.

Other new nearby attractions will include a picnic area, a renovation of the Cones ice cream shop, stroller parking, beautiful landscaping and a playground area for pre-school aged kids.

Individuals and businesses can sponsor a carousel animal to recognize someone special, promote their business or commemorate a special occasion. Sponsorship includes a personalized plaque near the sponsored animal. Six carousel animals still need sponsorship, which starts at $5,000 - a two year payment plan is available. Sponsorship funds and the actual fee for riding will go back to the New Mexico BioPark Society. These proceeds help fund more than 25 different conservation organizations that the BioPark supports.

The carousel was made possible by a large donation from SSA, a company founded by T. Kevin McNicholas. McNicholas, along with business partner Timothy Brantley, operates visitor services in more than 36 zoos, museums, aquariums, botanical gardens and related cultural attractions across the country. He is the president of the T. Kevin McNicholas Foundation, which focuses on the education needs of young people, preparing them to enter the workforce with character, ethics and leadership skills.