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In Kids & Family

The zoo train photo: something many of us have in common, Milwaukee!

Enter the OnMilwaukee.com Zoo Train Photo Contest


Most people who grew up in Milwaukee, or are currently raising kids in Milwaukee, have at least one thing in common: a photo of themselves on the Milwaukee County Zoo train, officially called the "Safari Train." You know the one we're talking about.

"I know I remember riding the train," says Zak Mazur, publications and media relations specialist for the Milwaukee Zoological Society.

Now, we want to collect as many of these photos as we can and put them together in a photo gallery on OnMilwaukee.com. So from now through Thursday, July 7, email us a digital copy of a zoo train photo (molly@staff.onmilwaukee.com), and we'll put it in an online gallery coming soon to OnMilwaukee.com.

Then, enter to win one of three zoo ticket packages by clicking here or at the link at the end of this article. Winners will be randomly selected and notified on July 8, 2011.

Here are the prizes:

Grand Prize
8 Admission Tickets
2 Parking Passes
8 Train Tickets
8 Carousel Tickets
8 Zoomobile Tickets

2nd Prize
4 Admission Tickets
1 Parking Ticket
4 Train Tickets
4 Carousel
4 Zoomobile Tickets

3rd Prize
4 Admission Tickets
1 Parking Ticket

Tickets expire December 31, 2011. Rides may not operate due to weather, and run on weekends after Sept. 5. Tickets are not refundable and not valid for cash merchandise or parking.

The Milwaukee County Zoo was originally in Washington Park, but the "new zoo" opened in 1958. The train was custom-made and donated to the zoo by the publishers of the Milwaukee Journal.

"A train and tracks were part of this zoo's plan from the very beginning," says Mike Garcia, admissions and transportation supervisor.

The zoo train was one of the few attractions that has been around since the beginning. Today, the train's 1.25-mile route and 19 coaches take 400,000 riders a year across two bridges, past Lake Evinrude and many animal buildings and exhibits, including the Australia Building, the North America area and the Northwestern Mutual Family Farm. The train is sponsored by North Shore Bank.

The miniature train has both a steam and a diesel engine. Depending on zoo attendance, the use of steam or diesel engines alternate. It takes more skill to operate the steam locomotives, but they make the attraction more interesting. The steam engine goes through about eight to 10 pounds of coal and 10 to 15 gallons of water on each 10-minute trip.

The eight-ton train is capable of chugging up 60 miles per hour, but during a normal train ride, the train will go about five or six miles per hour.

The cost to ride the train is $2.50 for adults / teens and $1.50 for kids ages 3 to 12. The train runs through mid-October, weather permitting. (But send us your zoo train photo and you could be riding for free very soon!)

Amy Chance and her four children rode the zoo train many times.

"I rode the zoo train, my kids rode the zoo train. Even my parents, who are deceased, rode the zoo train," she says. "Wish I had photos of that."


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