Cathi Decker, Executive Director of Friends of Santa Ana Zoo (FOSAZ), announced the construction of the “50 Monkey” Ferris Wheel at the Zoo today. It is the first Zoo in the United States to put in a permanent thatched-roof style wheel. Decker envisioned this idea at the end of 2010 when she returned from an IAAPA (International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions) Convention. It took seven years before her dream would become a reality. Nestled between the Zoofari Express Train and the Conservational Carrousel, the 50 Monkey Ferris Wheel is the perfect addition for this local Zoo to present a total of three child-friendly attractions that can be shared and enjoyed by all ages.
The Wheel is expected to welcome as many as 65,000 happy riders per year, which, together with the Train and Carrousel, will generate a projected game changing gross income total of close to a million dollars annually. Decker applied calculations based on her “synergy of three” (incremental ride increases based on a study of when three rides are together) strategy to compute these numbers.
“My goal is to increase our net revenue donation to help the Santa Ana Zoo’s visitors and animals including the 50 monkeys who live here at our Zoo!” said Decker. “I am grateful to our team of supporters who have gone above and beyond to bring my vision of a Ferris Wheel to our Zoo including FOSAZ President David Exline, Howard Hall, Kevin Jackson, Suzi Furjanic, Marie Rourke, Larry Breitenstein from Chance Rides and Gordon Nelson who procured our loan from US Bank.
Uniquely designed to spotlight the Santa Ana Zoo’s 50 monkey heritage, each fully-contained gondola will feature a description of an endangered monkey, furthering the Zoo’s dedication to the education of environmental conservation through the preservation of endangered species. Educational graphics telling the story of Joseph Prentice and the Zoo’s requirement to house 50 monkeys at all times in order to maintain the land will be found along the loading queue-line walkway.
The 50 Monkey Ferris Wheel is expected be open by the end of the year and will run 7 days a week, 365 days per year (except on severe weather days and required maintenance days) from roughly 11 AM to 4 PM on the weekends; and 11 AM to 2 PM on the weekdays. Rides will last roughly 10 minutes. During special events, the Wheel will stay open for longer hours.
The Santa Ana Zoo is home to more than 260 animals, including 60 of the most interesting and engaging monkeys and several endangered species, like the golden lion tamarins. The Zoo is open daily from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. The Santa Ana Zoo in Prentice Park is located at 1801 Chestnut Avenue, Santa Ana, CA 92701. For more information call 714-836-4000 or visit www.santaanazoo.org. Follow The Santa Ana Zoo on Twitter and Facebook.