New Train Hitting the Track This Weekend at Little Rock Zoo

New Train Hitting the Track This Weekend at Little Rock Zoo
Cheetah Chase 5K, inaugural ride festivities highlight opening weekend.
LITTLE ROCK, AR (News release) - The Little Rock Zoo’s new train will roll down the track this weekend with excited passengers anxious to ride the brand new Arkansas Diamond Express for the first time.  The fun begin with the following activities:
  • Member Preview Night Friday, June 6, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. - Little Rock Zoo members get free hot dogs, chips, drinks, and ice cream and an opportunity to ride the new train for free. Member kids will receive a free train whistle and member adults will get a commemorative train token while supplies last. The Over-the-Jumps carousel will also be available to ride for free and Little Rock Zoo Docents and Zoo Education Outreach staff will handle Education Outreach animals. This event is free for Zoo members. Members must present their member card and photo identification at the Zoo admission gate to enter. Memberships may be purchased right at the door to enter.  
  • Cheetah Chase 5K Fun Run Saturday, June 7, 8 a.m., Little Rock Zoo Main Entrance - Join all the big cats for the best race in town! The Cheetah Chase 5K Fun Run takes runners through the Zoo and out into War Memorial Park on a fun run that all the coolest cats in town will enjoy! The race includes an adults and kids category (ages 6-12) and also includes awards for the top ten fastest women and top ten fastest men. Every kid who runs the race will get a special Cheetah Chase medal. Awards will also be given for Best Big Cat Costume, Best Tiger Costume in honor of the Zoo’s new tiger cubs, and Best Animal Costume. Day of registration is still available at 7:00 a.m. Please call (501) 661-7208 for more information or visit 
  • Grand Opening & Inaugural Ride of the Arkansas Diamond Express Saturday, June 7, 10 a.m., Little Rock Zoo Train Depot - Arkansas First Lady Ginger Beebe, State Senator David Johnson, State Representative Allen Kerr, Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola, Arkansas Zoological Foundation Chairman David Aston, Zoo Board of Governors Chairman Fred Knight, and the Board of Directors of the Arkansas Zoological Foundation will help dedicate the Arkansas Diamond Express in a special ceremony at the Little Rock Zoo’s Train Depot.  
At the ceremony, the Arkansas Zoological Foundation, the non-profit organization that raised nearly $400,000 to purchase the new train for the Zoo, will officially donate the train to the city for its exclusive use at the Little Rock Zoo. After the ceremony, a special inaugural ride will take place with Arkansas First Lady Ginger Beebe and all donors of the train who helped make the train possible. 

Also in attendance for the grand opening ceremony and inaugural ride will be State Representative Fredrick Love, State Representative Warwick Sabin, State Representative Mark Lowry, Zoo Director Mike Blakely and members of the Little Rock City Board of Directors, Zoo Board of Governors and the Arkansas Zoological Foundation.  

The train and train tracks were made possible through several public and private entities including:
Train Track Donations
$204,000 - General Improvement Funds - State Senator David Johnson
$165,000 City of Little Rock - LR Cent Capital Tax

Train Donations
$100,000 - Central Arkansas Planning & Development - State Representative Allen Kerr - District Grant
$50,000 - Private Donation - Laura P. Nichols Foundation
$20,000 - Central Arkansas Planning & Development - State Representative Mark Lowry - District Grant
$25,000 - Private Donation - Estate & Trust of Lynn French 
$10,000 - Central Arkansas Planning & Development - State Representative Fredrick Love - District Grant
$10,000 - Central Arkansas Planning & Development - State Representative Warwick Sabin - District Grant
$5,000 -  Central Arkansas Planning & Development - State Senator Jane English - District Grant
$180,000 - Donations - Private Donations

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