Albuquerque company creates toys for zoo animals


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque company is helping keep zoo animals happy across the nation.

If it were possible to put a smile on a hippo, Marilynn Barr and her company would be the ones to do it.

“It gives the animals something to do at a zoo,” said Barr. “It’s animal enrichment, it’s not just toys.”

Barr’s Albuquerque company Desert Plastics, also known as Wildlife Toy Box, made its first zoo toy 10 years ago for the Albuquerque zoo.

“The big cats went crazy over it, playing with it, trying to bite it and everything,” said Barr.

With an instant hit on her hands, the company’s toy selection only grew over the years.

“Polar bears, elephants, you name it, we make the toys for everybody,” said Barr.

Her clients grew, too.

“San Diego Zoo, Denver Zoo,” said Barr.

What makes these toys so special, is that they’re designed and built in Albuquerque.

“We manufacture them right here in this business,” said Barr.

For any new toy design, Barr lets animals at the Albuquerque BioPark test it out first.

“We go down there to visit and try new things on them,” said Barr.

Barr said she makes toys for everyone from Bush Gardens in Tampa to the National Smithsonian Zoo. She also ships toys to places like Dubai.

Barr’s company has 10 employees.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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