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Jungle Jack Hanna Celebrates 35 Years in Columbus
COLUMBUS (Ashley Yore/Ken Hines) -- Central Ohioans are celebrating a wild milestone: Jungle Jack's 35th Hanna-versary at the Columbus Zoo!
Jack Hanna says he and the zoo have grown significantly since he came to central Ohio to seek medical care for his daughter more than three decades ago.
If it hadn't been for a little ad in the paper a buddy's sister saw in 1977 saying the Columbus Zoo is looking for a zoo director, if there hadn't been that little ad -- a guy in New Jersey saw by the way, his sister's at Ohio State -- Id have never been here, he said.
In 1978, Jacks daughter, Julie, was battling cancer. He credits Ohio hospitals with saving her life.
Children's hospital, Nationwide, shes checked all the time," he said. [She is] 34-years-old, works at the zoo here, so this city has given my daughter to me."
As director, Hanna and his team have transformed the Columbus Zoo into one of the nation's most popular and respected animal attractions.
Just a thank you from the citizens means more to me than anything in the world. But then again, I have to turn back -- and Im not just saying this to be corny -- Ive got to thank the people of Columbus, this whole county, of this state, Hanna said.
Through years of fame, Jacks love for animals, and for inspiring others, hasnt changed -- neither has his wardrobe.
It's what I wear," Hanna said of his trademark look. "I don't care if its the President of the United States or the royal family in England, it's what I wear, he said.