El Paso

EP Zoo amphitheater, a quality of life bond project, hosting 'The Birdman'

EP Zoo amphitheater, a quality of...

EL PASO, Texas - Spring break is the biggest week of the year in terms of attendance for the El Paso Zoo, and thanks to the addition of the new $1.2 million amphitheater, built with 2012 Quality of Life bonds, there's a lot more to see.

The El Paso Zoo has improved tremendously the past decade. ABC-7 had the chance to check out the latest addition in the amphitheater: "The Wings of the World" bird show.

They call Joe Krathwohl "The Birdman." The bird conservationist is booked for the next three years at the El Paso Zoo, thanks to a donation from the Zoological Society via El Paso millionaires Paul and Alejandra Foster.

The new amphitheater, which holds about 300, was packed on Monday afternoon. Krathwohl is scheduled for three shows a day this week.

"We have so many different performers and routines that the show is never the same," Krathwohl said. "It's constantly changing, constantly evolving."

Steve Marshall has been director of the El Paso Zoo since 2007.

"It really takes us up to another level," Marshall said of the amphitheater and new bird show. "It's really part of our business plan to offer more for people to come and maybe they can come more often."

Marshall said he's seen zoo attendance climb from about 250,000 a year a decade ago to more than 375,000 a year now.

"Our stay time is getting longer and longer because there's more and more for people to do," said Marshall, who said to expect more shows like "The Wings of the World."

"Modern zoos, accredited zoos, they are not as passive as they used to be. There's many more experiences and things like that."

Parents seem to think its cool.

"I think it's a great addition for the zoo," said El Pasoan Krissy Rumpf, who attended Monday's 12:30 p.m. show.

Her daughter Syndey Rumpf said her favorite part was "watching all the birds fly."

She also learned a thing or two about birds.

"A lot of the birds, I haven't even seen before," she said. "I haven't even heard of them."

Marshall said to expect more shows at the new amphitheater, which are free of charge with zoo admission.

It's $7.50 for children 3 to 12 years old and $12 for anyone 13 to 59. Those 60 and over or military get in for $9.

The zoo is expecting 3,000 to 4,000 visitors a day this week and through spring break.


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