In 1961 Gary Clarke became a Senior Keeper at the Kansas City zoo, working with species ranging from polar bears to gorillas to African elephants. In October 1963 he was appointed Director of the Gage Park Zoo in Topeka, KS. which evolved into the World Famous Topeka Zoo. In 1989, on his 50th birthday he achieved a long time goal and climbed Kilimanjaro. After more than 26 years as the Zoo Director in Topeka, he resigned in December, 1989 and established Cowabunga Safaris where he led Safaris to various countries on the African Continent and had completed 140 Safaris. In August, 2018 the Topeka Zoo opened Cowabunga, an exhibit that features several of Gary Clarke’s artifacts from his African Safaris. Gary Clarke passed away in January, 2019. On Friday the Topeka Zoo remembered Gary Clarke with a free zoo day. Gary’s family was in attendance at the zoo for the day.