Baton Rouge Zoo to begin first phase of $30M renovations; includes new exhibits
BATON ROUGE - Designers are working on the final plans for the first round of renovations at the Baton Rouge Zoo.
While there has been quite a lot of talk, controversial proposals, and debates over a new zoo in the capital area, officials have come to a final decision to keep the zoo right where it is, but major changes are coming.
It's been about a year since the master redevelopment and expansion plan was approved. Now, designers are working on the final versions.
Construction on phase one, which will tackle most of the zoo's infrastructure, could begin in just a few months.
Assistant Director of the Baton Rouge Zoo, Jim Fleshman, says that in addition to the exciting new animal exhibits, the infrastructure work will include a new stormwater system, as well as a brand new sewer system.
A groundbreaking is expected before the end of the year.
Among the new animal exhibits will be an underwater hippo expo and a giraffe feeding station. Fleshman says these are just a few of the exciting things in store for the new and improved version of the zoo.
"This is going to take the Baton Rouge Zoo to a whole new level and really show the importance of what this zoo can actually be," Fleshman said.
Phase one will also include relocating the entrance, placing it next to Greenwood Park. The first phase of the project will cost around $30 million.
"You'll see a brand new entrance, an orientation plaza, and a children's and family area as soon as you walk in," Fleshman said.
BREC hopes these renovations will bring new life and visitors into the zoo.
The zoo does not plan to relocate animals just yet. Phase one is expected to take about 18 months.
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