Graham Kilmer

Pony Rides Could Return To The Zoo

Pony rides were discontinued since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

By - Aug 10th, 2023 04:08 pm
Milwaukee County Zoo. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Milwaukee County Zoo. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Pony rides could return to the Milwaukee County Zoo in 2024.

For more than a decade, pony rides have been a part of the zoo. But they ended when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and haven’t returned. Now the Zoo is looking for a new vendor to help it bring the rides back.

The zoo’s previous pony ride provider is no longer in business, according to a spokesperson, so it hopes to find a new provider in time for next year. The institution is reviewing its 192-acre facility for a space to hold pony rides.

The Zoo is hoping a new operation will include at least five ponies. Unlike the other approximately 2,000 animals at the facility, the Zoo would not be responsible for the care of the ponies. The vendor will care for, feed, transport and handle the ponies.

Pony rides will provide a new offering for zoo patrons and it would also give a pony purveyor access to a rather large potential market. The Zoo has more than 1 million visitors a year, and, historically, many of these visitors travel from outside of Milwaukee. In exchange for this exposure to new clientele, the vendor is to pay the zoo approximately 25% of its gross revenue for pony rides.

Milwaukee’s zoo began in Washington Park in 1882 as a small deer park, with animals donated by two men, one of them the son of Frederick Pabst, founder of Pabst Brewing Company. It moved to its current location at 10001 W. Bluemound Rd. in 1958.

Responses to a request for proposals are due Aug. 11.

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Categories: MKE County, Parks

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