Zoo ImprovementsPardon Our Mess

January 17, 2018

Every year the Zoo sees approximately 500,000 visitors through its doors. Our fans, the weather and daily operations put our facilities to the test, so each winter Zoo staff takes time to update, upgrade and updo the grounds. Lots of great things are in store for the return of the busy season, but in the meantime, you’ll have to pardon our mess.

Upon entering the Zoo’s parking lot, you’ll notice our newly widened sidewalks. As our Horticulture department says, “Bamboo has a mind of its own.” The tall woody grass began quickly overgrowing, ultimately covering the sidewalk. After trimming the bamboo back, Zoo staff got to work pouring concrete to make the sidewalks wider, easier and safer for guests to walk in and out of the Zoo.

Sidewalks just outside the ZooFarm were also cleared and renovated. This was additional construction required for the World of Reptiles to increase the building’s technological needs for the classroom and other specialized equipment for the building.

The plaza fixtures have received a little reconditioning. The summer sun can bleach paint colors, so the benches and trellises that surround the plaza and building pillars have all received a fresh coat of paint. You’ll see some other signs and areas receiving touchups as well throughout the coming months.

As you reach the Event Pavilion and Field, you will notice the grass isn’t greener on the other side…of the railroad tracks. While the area doesn’t necessarily flood, the field can become muddy and unsuitable for the many corporate events we hold annually. The Zoo is regrading, or leveling, the field and adding additional drainage to alleviate any standing water. The field is fenced off and crews have already dug up the top layer of dirt. Once the field is leveled, sod will be placed on top. This project will take about six weeks to complete, then the field will be ready for events this spring.

 

The African Village Café roofs are covered in tarps in preparation for being replaced. Nature has taken its course on these original thatch roofs, meaning squirrels and other wildlife use the natural material for making nests, causing damage over the years. The same goes for the thatch roofing on the buildings in the giraffe exhibit and along the boardwalk in the Africa – Okavango Delta. The current roofs will be replaced with metal, which has a longer life than traditional thatch options. These repairs will add much-needed coverage for the restaurant and shade for both visitors and the giraffes in the exhibits.

At the Animal Wellness Campus, you may observe empty rows where our orchard trees once stood. The fruit trees have been infected by Fire blight, a common and frequent problem which is caused by a bacterium, and is transmitted by splashing rain or insects. The Zoo’s Horticulture team removed all of the infected trees and will be planting more this Spring.

All of the improvements the Zoo is currently making will have a major impact on visitors and animals alike. The biggest improvement of all will be the opening of our biggest investment yet, the World of Reptiles. We can’t wait to see all of our projects finished, for the fences to come down and for our awesome Zoo fans to fill our revamped areas, especially the reptile building! Be sure to visit us soon to see all of the progress being made, and in the meantime, please pardon our mess!