ABILENE, Texas — UPDATE (2:56 p.m. May 19): The "Zoolute" event at the Abilene Zoo, scheduled for May 21, has been postponed to a later date.
The Abilene Zoo said in an email Thursday, "This will allow our first responders and members of our military community focus on Mesquite Heat wildfire. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the Big Country families that have been affected by this wildfire. Although we are cancelling our Zoolute, we will still honor anyone with an active, retired, or dependent ID to be allowed free admission to the Abilene Zoo on May 21st.
Once rescheduled, we will once again honor this admission offer along with free food sponsored by H-E-B and a ceremony featuring leadership from Dyess Air Force Base."
ORIGINAL STORY (May 17): H-E-B Helping Here will present Zoolute at the Abilene Zoo Saturday, May 21. The annual event coincides with National Armed Forces Day, a holiday when people across the country pay tribute to men and women who serve the U.S. military.
All active, veteran and retired military and their families will be admitted to the zoo free from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with proof of service.
Dyess Air Force Base leaders and local dignitaries will be present for an opening ceremony at 9 a.m. The ceremony will include singing of the National Anthem and presentation of the colors by the Dyess AFB Honor Guard.
Free lunch and snacks will be served by H-E-B, starting at 11:30 a.m. until supplies run out. Blue Bell Ice Cream will also be at Zoolute with samples. Everyone is invited to listen to the keeper chats throughout the day while exploring the zoo.
Schedule of events:
9 a.m. - Opening ceremony
10 a.m. - Animal ambassador appearance at the lakeside pavilion
11 a.m. - Band performance at the lakeside pavilion
11:30 a.m. - Lunch served by H-E-B
Noon - Cougar keeper chat
1 p.m. - Colobus monkey keeper chat
2 p.m. - Lion keeper chat
4 p.m. - Gates close
The train, carousel and giraffe feeding will also be open for an additional experience.