Education

There’s a bench at the Saint Louis Zoo in memory of a Wolf Branch student

A memorial plaque installed on a bench at the Saint Louis Zoo reads, “In loving memory of Brandt Ballenger a 9-year-old boy who loved the Zoo.” Brandt, of Swansea, was a student in Wolf Branch School District 113.
A memorial plaque installed on a bench at the Saint Louis Zoo reads, “In loving memory of Brandt Ballenger a 9-year-old boy who loved the Zoo.” Brandt, of Swansea, was a student in Wolf Branch School District 113. Provided

After a Swansea boy who loved the zoo died of cancer, a plaque in his memory was placed on a bench at the Saint Louis Zoo.

Brandt Ballenger loved interacting with animals, swimming at the YMCA, joking around and pranking people with Whoopie Cushions and marshmallow guns, according to an obituary. He also enjoyed technology — especially an iPad, which was his “constant companion throughout his illness,” the obituary states.

Brandt was a student in Wolf Branch School District 113. The district recently shared photos of the bench in a post to its Facebook page with the caption “Thinking of Brandt!” Another Facebook page called Team Brandt is filled with photos of people visiting the bench during their trips to the zoo.

The bench sits on Historic Hill along the pathway between the Herpetarium and Primate House. The memorial plaque was installed on the bench in October 2013, according to the zoo’s public relations department, which was three months after Brandt died.

The plaque reads, “In loving memory of Brandt Ballenger a 9-year-old boy who loved the Zoo.”

Brandt was survived by his parents, Jeff and Robin Ballenger, according to the obituary.

Lexi Cortes: 618-239-2528, @lexicortes

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