Jim and Dianne Bashor Bridge Dedicated at Veterans Day Ceremony
It was a special Veterans Day at the San Diego Zoo, as the organization dedicated its recently built 450-foot bridge to honor local Army veteran Jim Bashor and his wife, Dianne. During a ceremony today (Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017), Zoo officials announced the new name—the Jim and Dianne Bashor Bridge—to a cheering crowd, including the Bashors, their friends, Zoo guests, and the San Diego State University Army ROTC and Air Force ROTC Color Guard.
Zoo officials are honoring the Bashors for their work in establishing the Bashor Family Patriots Fund—an endowment that permanently guarantees that active duty armed forces personnel are granted unlimited admission to both the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The Patriots Fund will also provide future support for the Zoo’s Wild Heroes Program, which works with Naval Medical Center San Diego, Camp Pendleton, and other military resources to serve wounded warriors and their families. Zoo officials said they are grateful for the generosity of the Bashor family, whose gift will help strengthen the Zoo’s commitment to the nation’s men and women in uniform, and their families.
“While none of us can predict the future, we know that our volunteer armed forces will always be called upon to safeguard our liberties and freedoms, just as they have since our country was founded,” said Douglas G. Myers, president and CEO of San Diego Zoo Global. “The Bashors’ gift is so very special. It means so much to the many service men and women who visit the Zoo and Park each year without any cost—as well as the wounded veterans who come to our facilities for programs to reconnect with their families, friends and themselves.”
The Jim and Dianne Bashor Bridge spans the canyon at the heart of the 100-acre San Diego Zoo, and first opened to the public in July. For decades, the Zoo has sought to improve visitor accessibility at its grounds, which encompass canyons, hills, mesas and multilevel walkways. The bridge connects Benchley Plaza, located in Lost Forest on the east side of the Zoo, to the Fossil Portal inside Elephant Odyssey on the west side—meaning guests can now move all the way from the front entrance to the other end of the Zoo in a few minutes. Zoo staff members said the Bashor Bridge has already dramatically improved foot traffic flow, making it easier—and faster—for everyone from children to senior citizens to people with mobility challenges to reach the Zoo’s many habitats.
In addition to providing easier access to habitats, the bridge also offers guests a new eatery on the Elephant Odyssey side, along with panoramic views of the Zoo and Balboa Park from the bridge itself—and “aerial views” of the sprawling Conrad Prebys Africa Rocks exhibit, the newest and most ambitious habitat construction project in the Zoo’s history.