Engineers at the Zoo!

2:31 PM, May 27, 2010   |    comments
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  • St. Louis Zoo

    Life after retirement never felt so good for George Wampler and his buddies


    These guys are train engineers; they are the people who drive you around if you hop on the Zooline Railroad at the St. Louis Zoo!


    Ed Koeninger has been at it for 3 summers now and says he can't picture spending his golden years any other way


    27 million visitors have taken a ride on the zoo's train in the past 40 years...Although the price has changed from what is used to be...Just listen to this interview from the 70's


    These days $5 is what it costs to get this unique look at the zoo...but before the rides begin in each day there is much work to be done.


    Each morning the engineers shine up the trains and test the gauges


    After all checks are "a go"...It's time to start rolling on the rails.


    You could say these engineers are "coo coo" for the "choo choo".


    "When I leave here at the zoo when I here a train go by even though I've been on one all day I'll turn around and watch it go by" Ed says.


    "A lot of us are into trains as far as model trains or train trips" George says.


    They also don't mind their uniforms


    These retirees say this job feels like a vacation.


    "I always tell people when its fun, its really not a job keep doing it when it stops being fun, go find something else to do" George says.


    "What I see with this is a big beautiful train and somebody else might look at that as an amusement ride but I'm very proud of this" Ed says.


    These engineers know you are riding to have a good time but they are having just as much fun as you are.


    You can sign up to be an "Engineer for a Day" at the zoo.  It's for anyone ages 7 to 97 and beyond!  You'll get an engineer bandana and cap.  You'll ride with the engineers, tear tickets at the railroad stations, and help with other engineer activities.


    To find out more about the "Engineer for a Day" program call (314)646-4771



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