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Earth Day Celebration FUN Coming to Great Bend Zoo on April 20th

Curious Crowd - A crowd gathers at Great Bend Zoo to meet and greet Curious George during Great Bend Earth Day Celebration two years ago. Organizers expect similar crowds this year to meet and greet Clifford The Big Red Dog. 

Two years ago, approximately 1,600 people took part in the inaugural Great Bend Earth Day Celebration. This year’s third-annual free event, scheduled from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 20 at Great Bend Zoo, is expected to be just as well attended. The Great Bend Zoo, Rosewood ECycle and Great Bend Dairy Queen are hosting the event. They are being joined by 10 other vendors for the local event, which commemorates the worldwide Earth Day effort that raises awareness of the need to protect Earth’s natural resources.

The local come-and-go celebration occurs two days ahead of the official 54th anniversary of Earth Day, which is recognized as the planet’s largest annual civic event, celebrated each year on April 22. Events are coordinated globally to the impact of 1 billion people celebrating the day in more than 193 countries. The theme for the official 54th anniversary of Earth Day is “Planet vs. Plastics.”

Happy Planter - A young Earth Day Celebration participant is happy with her work, after planting her very own tomato plant seed last year at the Rosewood booth during Great Bend Earth Day Celebration at Great Bend Zoo.

On the local front, a primary reason for the expected robust attendance this year is the scheduled appearance of “Clifford The Big Red Dog,” with Smoky Hills PBS incorporating its Family Fun Day with Earth Day Celebration festivities. Crowds lined up at Great Bend Zoo two years ago when Smoky Hills PBS offered a meet and greet with Curious George during a sunny and pleasant day.

“We can’t guarantee perfect weather like we had two years ago, but we are seeing a lot of buzz surrounding the appearance of Clifford, similar to what we saw two years ago with Curious George,” said Ashley Burdick, Great Bend Zoo curator. “We’re excited about this year’s event because of Clifford’s appearance, but also because we have a record number of vendors and a myriad of activities planned. We’re confident that children will enjoy a fun-filled day at this year’s celebration.”

Fresh off of his Barton Community College men’s basketball national championship mascot duties, Bart The Cougar will make a special appearance to meet and greet children. He will be joined by BCC’s STEM Club with a fun interactive booth for children. Also participating for the first time is Sunflower Recycling Center, and Face Painting will be available at this year’s event.

Returning vendors this year are Kansas Wetlands Education Center, Heartland Farm, Great Bend Zoological Society, Women For Kansas, and ‘Read With Me’ program members Luna and Glenn.

Great Bend Dairy Queen will issue a coupon for a free small ice cream cone to the first 500 youth participants that day. In addition, there will be giveaways to the first 500 children in attendance.

Even if children aren’t among the first 500 visitors in attendance, there will be plenty to see and do during Great Bend Earth Day Celebration, said Burdick.

“We encourage children to bring their families; the more the merrier,” said Burdick. “Events are spread throughout our beautiful Zoo, so we can handle a crowd, and events carry through a three-hour period, so there will be plenty of time to participate in all the activities.”


Access Great Bend Earth Day Celebration flier at

For more information, contact Ashley Burdick, Great Bend Zoo Curator,, 620-793-4226

April 12, 2024
Story by: Michael Dawes, director of PR, Rosewood Services, 620-792-2536,