Holiday brings more cause to appreciate local venue.

When it comes to Garden City's beautiful Lee Richardson Zoo, you'd think that the opportunity to check out an amazing array of animals would be entertainment enough.

Not so for a zoo that often becomes a venue for something extra, and offerings this week would be prime examples.

Tuesday evening, the zoo will welcome the return of the internationally-known blues band The Nighthawks for this year's Blues at the Zoo.

Along with the great sounds of rock and the blues, food and refreshments will be available. Admission is just $10, with children 5 and younger admitted free.

Wednesday, the Fourth of July, brings the latest opportunity to help celebrate the zoo's year-long 85th birthday celebration, with activities planned from 3 to 6 p.m.

Zoo-goers may take in animal encounters and keeper talks. Unique paintings created by education animals will be available, as well as a cake walk and zoo birthday card contest.

The zoo will stay open late Wednesday for the Municipal Band's patriotic Fourth of July concert at 8 p.m. in the gazebo on the west green, followed by the community fireworks at dark. It would be difficult to find a more ideal setting than the zoo's west green for watching fireworks.

Anyone who's toured the local zoo has to be impressed by what it has to offer on any day of the year. Visitors can see exhibits featuring hundreds of animals ranging from African elephants to sloth bears and even a bald eagle, the national bird of the United States and perhaps the most fitting zoo inhabitant to check out on Independence Day, the nation's birthday.

The city of Garden City, Friends of Lee Richardson Zoo and other supporters help make sure this community has an outstanding attraction that improves local quality of life, and gives others a reason to visit.

It's a tremendous asset. Anyone who would take the zoo for granted should look around the region and try to identify anything comparable.

Better yet, they should get a taste for themselves by taking advantage this week of all the zoo has to offer.