City signs send people to shuttered Las Vegas Zoo


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City signs send people to shuttered Las Vegas Zoo

By Darcy Spears. CREATED Jan 21, 2014

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- When you see those green reflective signs along the road directing you to a destination, you expect the place to be there. But one set of city signs are a road map to nowhere.

Driving around Las Vegas, you'll find city signs, "It shows them the way to the Zoo, I think," said Lucien Meyer.

An attraction your family might want to visit.

"What are people going to find if they follow those signs?" asked Contact 13's Darcy Spears.

"They'll find an empty place here. A locked gate," said Meyer.

And there's another sign, telling you the zoo property is for sale. You could say the city is in violation of one of its own ordinances. 

If the zoo signs were campaign signs, the city would have required they come down within 15 days of a general election, or the candidate could face a fine of up to $250. 

The zoo has been closed for more than four months, but the signs are clearly still here.

One of the only people who can still get into the shuttered zoo is Meyer who, since 1988, owned Terry, the zoo's resident chimpanzee.

"I'm coming here once in a while, going around to do walks through the zoo and sitting where Terry used to be memories," Meyer said.

Terry now lives at a Florida sanctuary, sent to a new home like the rest of the zoo animals after a mass exodus by the zookeeping staff caused the place to close in September.

"It was obviously a painful decision to leave those animals," said former zookeeper Jen Freer just after the zoo closed. "And I felt somewhere that if we left, that we would at least, if he would close, then the animals would get an opportunity to live better lives."

So with the animals long gone, Meyer said, "There are signs and somebody should take them down."

Action News asked the city why the signs are still there. They said, good question. 

After researching, they found they've got 18 signs up around the valley that have been there since the mid-1990's. 

We asked why the City would put up signs directing people to a private business?  They said, "As is the case with traffic destinations such as zoos, parks, hospitals and other community-focused venues, these were installed to direct citizens to the facility as a wayfinder, which is allowed per the Traffic Code. Similar signs can be found in cities across the country."

They thanked Action News for bringing it to their attention and said they'd send out a maintenance crew to remove them.

Darcy Spears

Darcy Spears

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Darcy Spears is currently the Chief Investigative Reporter for Action News.