Ormsby Zoo Days and Shack-A-Thon draw crowds

Rachel Young

Though the weather may not have felt entirely like spring had arrived at Lawrence, the wind and cool temperatures did not stop Ormsby Zoo Days from having a good turnout this past weekend.
The event was put together primarily by Ormsby Hall Council and was supported by many student volunteers who worked in shifts throughout the day, and it is certainly a popular annual event at Lawrence.
Free food was plentiful, including cotton candy, popcorn, nonalcoholic frozen daiquiris, soda and scientifically crafted ice cream with all of the fixings for sundaes.
It appeared that, even though Zoo Days was held on a college campus, students have not yet lost their love for the inflatable games of their childhoods. These games were extremely popular, and included an obstacle course – with a wall that was nearly impossible to get over – bounce house, bungee race and a knock-your-partner-off-the-platform game.
The dunk tank, though avoided by some individuals on account of the chilly weather, was another fun attraction.
While Lawrence student bands played music to add to the chill atmosphere, visitors could stop at the many different entertainment booths that were also set up on Main Hall green.
One such booth was the Beta Theta Pi balloon pop game, which accepted donations for the Special Olympics in exchange for a turn to pop the balloons on the plywood board and offered delicious oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and blueberry scones as prizes.
Another was the henna booth, where volunteers crafted elaborate henna designs on hands and arms – and yes, did the occasional tramp stamp.
A third booth was the Shack-A-Thon create-your-own t-shirt booth, which provided t-shirts, stencils and spray paints to create wearable art that also raised awareness.
Shack-a Thon is an event that takes place in conjunction with Ormsby Zoo Days each year. For Shack-A-Thon, different groups constructed makeshift houses using materials such as cardboard, plywood and tarp, and the groups spent the night in the houses to raise money for Habitat for Humanity in the Fox Cities.
Thus, shacks that dotted Main Hall green were not only fun to look at and watch be constructed, but also raised over $500 this year for the Habitat for Humanity cause. Though the night may have been cold, Shack-a-Thon builders endured, and many of those who participated in the building of the shacks were still inside them in the morning.
As visitors walked around, enjoyed food and played games on the green, the presence of the shacks was a reminder that much of the fun of Zoo Days was also for a good cause.
Though the majority of the visitors to Zoo Days were Lawrence students and their families, Appleton families and individuals also came out to partake in the fun, free food and opportunity to see what the Lawrence community is all about.
The night ended with a picnic on the green put on by Downer that included grilled chicken, veggie burgers, pasta salad, watermelon, chips and salsa and, of course, the Downer cookies and brownies that we all know and love.
Though hopefully next year the weather will be a bit warmer, Ormsby Zoo Days and Shack-a-Thon were both wonderful successes, and all those who participated should be proud of their hard work.