Strange Strange Sam

Strange Strange Sam

AKA Strange Sam

The plaza at the zoo’s entrance was designed to be a transitional area where parents can rest and kids can play while waiting to enter the zoo or while a car is retrieved from the parking lot. Strange Sam was designed with that in mind and also with an eye to the zoo’s educational efforts. The use of the rubberized play surface and curved stones that can be climbed on and through gives children of all ages the ability to have fun while learning.

Strange Sam is what remains of a giant imaginary creature. One stone represents the head, another the stomach and another is a flipper. There is an original poem by the artist entitled “Strange Strange Sam” that is broken up among five medallions embedded in the sidewalk around the play area.



Architect / Medium

artist / medium




KCMO Parks & Recreation Department

“I was inspired by talks regarding the zoo’s focus on education. I think it’s important to introduce a fantasy element, to get the children dreaming about what they see and also what might be. I’m inspired by sound and rhythm and thought it would be fun to introduce some rhymes to set the beat for the kids.” – Andy Dufford

Part of the City of Kansas City’s One Percent for the Arts Program.

The complete poem is as follows:
Who is that creature crawling out of the ground? 
A ram or an eagle, tell me what you have found?
He’s weird and he’s wild, this bird’s not the norm!
But he’s built for his world, just look at his form!
So let’s go exploring, we’ll learn every part
Climb up on his head, that’s a great place to start!
Look deep in eyes, they’re for finding his prey.
This guy can spot dinner from a mile away!
His beak’s sharp for biting and tearing his meat.
I bet if he’d caught you, we’d all hear a squeak!
Big antlers turn under. Each one makes a curl.
Those horns are for fighting and impressing the girls!
Go find his tummy! It looks like a rock.
So much to discover, more shapes to unlock! 

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