BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – A recent donation will allow the Bloomington and Normal public libraries to each circulate family passes to the Miller Park Zoo for free.
The passes will become available at the libraries on Thursday. Bloomington residents Bob and Reenie Bradley purchased and donated the passes ─ one to each library. It is their intention to make the passes an annual gift to the Bloomington-Normal community.
“We hope that the passes will enable families that may not otherwise be able to visit the zoo to have such an opportunity,” said Bob Bradley, a retired professor of political science at Illinois State University and a Bloomington Public Library volunteer.
His wife worked for 22 years in international education at both ISU and Illinois Wesleyan University.
“Libraries are often seen as being great equalizers within the communities they serve. They do this by providing services to people who otherwise may not be able to access them,” said Jeanne Hamilton, Director of BPL.
As new grandparents, the Bradleys said that their donation was inspired by their young granddaughters as well as fond memories of their daughter, Erin, and the many years she spent as a junior zookeeper at Miller Park Zoo. Erin now lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, Luke Broholm, and their two daughters.
“This generous donation from the Bradleys furthers this notion by allowing all local families access to the award-winning Miller Park Zoo,” she added. “We greatly appreciate the generosity of Bob and Reenie Bradley in making Miller Park Zoo, a wonderful community resource, accessible to all in our community. Normal Public Library is thrilled to play a role in providing this access,” said Brian Chase, Director of NPL.
The mission of Miller Park Zoo is to expand our understanding of the interrelationship between people and animals and the need to preserve the natural resources of the world.
“The zoo accomplishes this through education programs, conservation initiatives and of course making available for viewing animals that could otherwise only be seen in remote corners of the world,” said Paula Pratt of the Miller Park Zoological Society.
Each circulating family pass is valid for general admission to the zoo for two adults who reside in the same household and all their children who are age 17 and younger. The passes expire one week from the date they’re acquired and cannot be renewed.
When the passes are available, they can be picked up from the libraries’ circulation desks.
Patrons of NPL may call (309) 452-1757 with questions about the NPL pass or to put the pass on hold. Patrons of BPL can call (309) 828-6092 with questions about the BPL pass or put the pass on hold. They can also be put on hold online via the library catalog at either bloomingtonlibrary.org or normalpl.org.