Fort Wayne Zoo Details Major Project

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The Fort Wayne Children's Zoo has detailed plans for a $7 million renovation of its Australian Adventure exhibit. The upgrades will include new stingray and crocodile exhibits.

April 22, 2014

News Release

When the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo opens for the 2014 season on Saturday, new animals will share the spotlight with a new look for the 27-year-old Australian Adventure exhibit.

"We are completely reimagining the Australian Adventure," says Zoo Director Jim Anderson. "It's going to be more exciting than ever."

Australian Adventure Capital Campaign

Anderson today announced the zoo's $7 million Australian Adventure Capital Campaign. About $5 million has already been raised. The general public is now invited to participate in the campaign by purchasing a Recognition Tile for $400 or making a donation. Details are at http://kidszoo.org/support-the-zoo/australian-adventure-capital-campaign-2/

"We are grateful to the many businesses, foundations, and individuals who have contributed to the campaign so far," says Anderson. "We are now inviting our members, friends, and fans to contribute."

The zoo is a non-profit, self-supporting facility. All new construction is funded by donations.

Phase I of the Australian Adventure renovation is already underway and includes a new entry path, located next to the Train Station; a renovated Train Station; new Ice Cream Shop; outdoor guest seating; refreshed building facades; and a new restroom building.

Future phases of the new Australian Adventure call for the current Nocturnal House to be converted to a Stingray Exhibit. Crocodile Creek will be a highlight of the renovated Outback and feature a shallow stream in which children can play.

The existing 4.5-acre Australian Adventure opened in 1987 at a cost of $2.5 million.

2014 Season Highlights

The zoo opens for the 2014 season on Saturday, April 26. In addition to Phase I improvements in the Australian Adventure, zoo guests can enjoy new babies and new animal species.

A pair of Canadian lynx arrived at the zoo this spring. The 11-month-old brothers, named Loki and Thor, were born on May 3, 2013 at the New York State Zoo in Thompson Park. Lynx are small wild cats native to the far northern United States and Canada. The lynx will live in the former bobcat exhibit.

A baby colobus monkey born at the zoo in January will make his public debut sometime this spring. Obi is just beginning to explore the world on his own. Along with one-year-old half-sibling Kaasidy, there is sure to be plenty of action this summer in the African Village. Colobus monkeys are native to the forests of eastern and central Africa.

A crocodile skink, hatched on February 10, will join its parents in the Indonesian Rain Forest later this season. These lizards are native to Southeast Asia.

Two new bird species will be on display in the Central Zoo. Cabot's tragopan pheasants, native to China, are an endangered species. Call ducks will be new to the Indiana Family Farm. These small ducks were bred in the Netherlands in the 1600s. Their small size, around two pounds, and loud voice made them popular as live decoy ducks.

Favorites like Jelani the giraffe, Bill the lion, and Sumatran tigers Indah and Bugara are ready to greet the first visitors of the season. As always, longtime zoo icons like the joke-telling Croaky the Frog, Little Poof, and the Lion Drinking Fountain will help families create special zoo memories.

More than 545,000 people visited the zoo in 2013, marking the zoo's second-best season ever. "There's something new at zoo every year," said Anderson. "We are ready for another fantastic season."

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About the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo: The Fort Wayne Children's Zoo is northeast Indiana's largest tourist attraction, hosting more than 500,000 guests annually. The zoo was voted Indiana's #1 "Gotta-Do Summer Attraction" and is consistently named one of the nation's Top Ten Zoos for Kids by national media outlets.

The zoo is a conservation leader, contributing more than $80,000 annually to local, regional, and international efforts to protect wild animals and habitats, and participating in cooperative management programs for 15 endangered species.

As a self-supporting facility, the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo receives no tax dollars for operations. The zoo's operations are funded entirely by earned revenue and donations.

The zoo is open 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM daily April 26 through October 12, 2014. Admission is $14.00 for adults; $10.50 for seniors age 60+; and $9.00 for children ages 2-18. Babies age 1 and under and Zoo Society Members are admitted free.

Source: Fort Wayne Children's Zoo