Originally published by the San Antonio Business Journal
The roughly 104-year-old San Antonio Zoo is embarking on multimillion-dollar plan that will provide more of its species with new natural habitats that will give guests greater interaction with those animals, officials have confirmed.
The first planned project is a new rhino exhibit. The larger habitat will cost roughly $1 million to build and will include water elements, tree clusters and a nursery area for infants. The project, which is expected to be completed in early 2019, has been designed to accommodate multiple species and will be positioned next to the Savannah giraffe habitat. Zoo officials said that will enable some animals to roam between the two environments.
Guests will have the ability to experience the animals from a viewing deck.
The zoo also plans to build a new jaguar exhibit that will feature an overhead catwalk that will connect the species’ existing space with a nearby Amazon habitat, where the animals will have access to a riverbed environment.
The new exhibit will reinforce some of the jaguars natural behaviors, including hanging high in a canopy- type setting and exploring a river’s edge. The estimated cost of the project is $2 million, and the goal is to also have that project completed in 2019.
“This is a continuation of our philosophy of constant improvement of our habitats, care and enrichment for our animals and the guest experience,” San Antonio Zoo CEO Tim Morrow said. “These new exhibits will give the animals additional space and create more naturalistic environments that give guests more opportunities to view the animals.”
Since Morrow’s arrival in 2014, the zoo has undergone several changes, including the development of an expanded elephant habitat and a new Savannah area that is home to the park’s giraffes. The zoo has also redesigned its lion habitat in recent years, offering guests closer interaction with the animals through reinforced glass.
The investments are paying off. More than 1.1 million people visited the zoo last year, generating an economic impact north of $108 million.
“With these modifications and renovations, we’ve seen an increase in attendance and memberships,” Morrow said.
Zoo officials are still raising additional money to pay for the latest planned projects.
The original story can be found here.