FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Work is already underway to renovate the 27-year-old Australian Adventure exhibit at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo and now the public is being asked to help contribute funds to help pay for the $7 million upgrade.
Details of the project were announced at a Tuesday morning news conference with the zoo set to open for another season this coming Saturday.
About $5 million of the $7 million Australian Adventure Capital Campaign has already been raised according to Zoo Director Jim Anderson.
“We are grateful to the many businesses, foundations and individuals who have contributed to the campaign so far,” said Anderson. “We are now inviting our members, friends, and fans to contribute.”
The zoo relies on donations to fund projects because it is a non-profit facility.
The public can learn more details about the capital campaign by clicking here.
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.
Besides upgrades to the Australian Adventure, visitors will also check out some new animals when the zoo opens on April 26:
- 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.
More than 545,000 people visited the zoo in 2013, marking the zoo’s second best season ever.