The Summerfield Zoo in Belvidere will hold a grand opening celebration this weekend of an exhibit being named in honor of one of our WREX family members we lost to cancer.
Jeannie Hayes worked as a producer and anchor at WREX from 2005 until she died of cancer in 2012.
She was an instant friend to just about anyone she met, and she loved animals.
The new Jeannie Hayes Memorial Hyena Habitat includes an indoor and outdoor yard with shade trees and a swimming hole for the zoo's hyena.
The outdoor features were made possible by a donation from Jeannie's family.
Shenzee, the zoo's hyena, is the last animal that made an appearance with Jeannie while she was with WREX.
"Jeannie had a special way with animals that allowed even Shenzee to be comfortable with her," said Rick Anderson, director at Summerfield Zoo. "Hyenas are known for being especially wary of strangers, but Jeannie’s quiet calm allowed for Shenzee to be comfortable on the set. We are proud to name our newest habitat after our friend Jeannie Hayes and hope that the public will come visit and celebrate it’s opening with us."
Summerfield Zoo is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The exhibit will be open both days this weekend.
Admission to the zoo is $9 per adult, $7 per senior and $5 per child. All proceeds go to the care of all the animals, many of which are rescues