The plan, which was released today, offers the following recommendations for incorporating the 13.5-acres of property the zoo purchased south of Highway 64. Recommendations include:
- Using the expansion site to create a new entrance to the zoo, anchored by a new major attraction, an orientation point for visitors that would serve as a welcome center and a hub of activity.
- Moving parking facilities from the existing campus and congested Forest Park roads to surface lots and a structured parking facility at the expansion site.
- Linking the expansion site to the existing zoo campus with an iconic bridge, a gondola, wheeled trolleys or trams.
- Relocating administrative/service/distribution operations to the expansion site, allowing room on the existing campus for new animal habitats and expansion of the zoo's veterinary hospital.
- Developing zoo-themed retail, dining and lodging (an animal-themed hotel, for example).
- Enhancing public space by creating a dog park, farmers' market or an outdoor event area.
The plan's executive summary also calls for an expansion of the children's zoo, potentially adding nature play features, animal encounters and overnight areas, and a zoo farm with domestic animals.
The zoo will be completing a strategic plan and a facilities master plan by the end of 2014. Zoo officials confirmed that admission to the zoo will remain free, though there will continue to be fees for certain attractions.
From the calendar