In like a lion, out like a lamb, or so the saying goes! Spring weather and March are supposed to go together, but here in Kansas, March also has its share of winter blasts. I remember a year with two weekend blizzards a week apart in the middle of March, and a few years when the first Saturday in the month reached 80 degrees! Weather like that brings everyone with cabin fever out of the woodwork and down to the zoo in droves. You never know what the month will bring weather-wise, but being Kansans we just adapt!

One event that always comes with the arrival of March is the reopening of our vehicle entry booth at the zoo. For the past three months, the booth has been closed and vehicle admission to the zoo has been free. The booth reopens today and the vehicle admission fee resumes. If you like to drive through the zoo, you'll want to make sure your zoo membership is current so you can continue to enjoy free vehicle admission. If you don't have a membership, it's your lucky day because March is membership month for the Friends of Lee Richardson Zoo. Membership has lots of other benefits, including a quarterly newsletter, reciprocal admission to many other AZA-accredited zoos across the country, invitations to members-only events throughout the year, notifications about other zoo events, discounts at the Safari Shoppe on food, "Zoo-venirs," Safari Cycle rentals and more. For membership information, visit the Friends website at www.folrz.com or call them at 276-6243.

And even if you enjoy or prefer to walk through the zoo (which has the added benefit of being free), remember that your membership is a great way to support continued improvements and new exhibits at Lee Richardson Zoo, one of Garden City's greatest attractions.

This weekend also marks the reopening of the Safari Shoppe with seasonal Friday and weekend hours. After a break for the winter, the Shoppe is open with new merchandise and refreshments. Safari Cycles, the fun new surrey bikes introduced last year, will also be available for rental when the Safari Shoppe is open. Shop hours will expand as the spring becomes more spring-like, so watch for details on that.

The zoo will remain on winter hours for the month of March, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily, and guests can stay until 5 p.m. Because March is so unpredictable for weather, our extended summer hours don't take effect until April 1, when pleasant temperatures and sufficient daylight into the early evening is more likely. Starting April 1, the zoo will stay open for an additional two hours every day, closing at 6:30 p.m.

With mid-50s predicted for this weekend, it's a sure bet that our baby addax will be out and about in the west side of the African Plains yard, south of the aviary. And while 80 degrees is not in the forecast for the coming week, I'm guessing most of us will appreciate nice weather for the weekend, combined with the rapid melting of any remaining snow. Come get some fresh air and have a picnic or take a walk through the zoo, hop on your bike, or load up family or friends and cruise through the zoo. Our lions, lambs (OK they are really full-grown sheep) and all the other animals are waiting for you!

Visit our website at www.leerichardsonzoo.org.