Sedgwick County Zoo’s new electric train opens Friday


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The new Safari Specific train is prepared to depart the station at the Sedgwick County Zoo, and it will welcome aboard its very first travellers today.

The long-awaited coach, which will acquire site visitors on a 1.3-mile ride about the exterior of the zoo and give them vantage factors they’ve in no way experienced, will open with a 9 a.m. ribbon chopping, and then zoo website visitors will be ready to climb on. A experience on the prepare necessitates an extra ticket which is $5, or $4 for zoo associates.

The zoo actually has two locomotives, every with four vehicles that have 50 adults easily. They’ll operate continuously from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. day by day. Riders can load and unload at two recently created educate stations: one particular near the zoo entrance by the giraffe exhibit and one particular near the Downing Gorilla forest. They can pick irrespective of whether to use the train to get from one part of the zoo to the other or to just choose a entertaining trip.

Compensated for by a present from longtime zoo patron Martha C. Buford — who died in 2020 — the teach was at first established to open on Memorial Day weekend, but offer chain challenges stored the zoo from obtaining all the sections it desired in time. Crews started out putting down the observe final December, when the Wild Lights exhibit closed. The inexperienced-and-gold train, an electric powered CP Huntington that runs on lithium ion batteries, was delivered to the zoo on July 1.

Sedgwick County Zoo worker Joey Pepoon will get a preview trip on the zoo’s new Martha C. Burford Safari Specific Teach on Thursday. The teach opens to the general public on Friday. Travis Heying The Wichita Eagle

The practice vehicles, which are protected and equipped with wood benches that will easily seat two older people, just take people today on a journey all around the zoo that lasts about 20 minutes, and they see issues they wouldn’t ordinarily see.

These who board the coach in close proximity to the giraffes will trip by way of a freshly built tunnel, past the pasture in which the farm animals snooze at evening and together the zoo’s border with Sedgwick County Park. Men and women on going for walks paths at the park can glimpse the train pass by and are apt to wave at it or motion for the conductor to seem the train’s horn.

Site visitors also are taken earlier a substantial piece of almost never seen land that the zoo team phone calls “the back again 40.” It is 40 acres that the zoo hopes one day will be dwelling to a 200-300-place resort overlooking a grassy place intended to re-make an African savanna.

All alongside the route, the zoo has extra signals that tell readers which displays they are passing. And some of the zoo’s inhabitants are noticeable from the teach, most notably the elephants. The tracks travel proper at the rear of the elephant exhibit, and its citizens have been especially fascinated in the prepare since it arrived, explained Riley Schwartz, the ride operations supervisor at the zoo, who wears conductor’s pinstripe overalls and pilots the educate.

“The working day we initially begun riding all-around, they would stand up by the fence with their ears out like, ‘What is that?’” he explained. “They actually like to observe it go by and will trumpet each and every as soon as in a even though.”

Riley Schwartz prepares to work the Sedgwick County Zoo’s new Martha C. Buford Safari Express Practice on Thursday. The new attraction opens to the community on Friday. Travis Heying The Wichita Eagle

Toward the finish of the journey, people pass the tortoise enclosure and are likely to catch a closeup glance at the zoo’s huge tortoise inhabitants, together with 90-12 months-old Rocket.

Just one interesting reality about the educate: Simply because it is electric powered, it would make incredibly tiny sounds as it travels the tracks, but the zoo needed people to experience like they were acquiring a w
hole educate working experience, so pre-recorded chugga-chugga-chugga noises are piped in above speakers in the train’s ceiling.

Persons can buy tickets for the prepare at the stations on zoo grounds or on line in progress at

The zoo is also offering a “Go Wild” pass that’s $20, $16 for users and will allow people today to get five attraction passes for the selling price of four. The passes can be applied at the Safari Categorical, Stingray Cove, boat ride or giraffe feeding stations. They are also readily available on the web or at the zoo.

This tale was at first posted July 22, 2022 5:03 AM.

Denise Neil has coated eating places and amusement considering the fact that 1997. Her Dining with Denise Fb site is the go-to put for diners to get info about neighborhood eating places. She’s a common choose at community food competitions and speaks to groups all more than Wichita about eating.

By Harriet