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Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo Announces 15 Year Master Plan

Dennis Pate, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo Director and CEO, presented the Zoo’s Master Plan at a press conference held June 4 at 10 a.m.



The Master Plan is the culmination of many months of work. It incorporates visitor experiences and amenities, state-of-the-art animal habitats that reflect the latest husbandry knowledge, and a place to instruct the next generation of wildlife biologists. The Master Plan provides for a dedicated service path around the Zoo with access to animal holding areas that leave the sidewalks to our guests and addresses steep walkways. Older vintage exhibits will be replaced with exhibits measured in partial or whole acres for large animals that live in social groups such as elephants, rhinos and lions.

Additional future exhibits include:

Addition to the Scott Aquarium – The expansion includes a new 400 person education conference area, expanded jellyfish area, touch tank and renovations to existing exhibits. The former penguin yard will be repurposed as a children’s play area. The expansion is scheduled for completion in 2012.

Main Entry and Front Plaza – A new Front Entry will upgrade the current entry area to significantly address the much increased visitor attendance since the existing entry was built. The goal is to enhance the visitor experience by making it easy and comfortable for guests to
find what they need – tickets, gifts, memberships, restrooms, first aid and security. This will make it easy for guests to begin their Zoo experience or as the case may be, complete their experience and purchase a keepsake before heading home. A new Fountain Plaza will include a seating area and fountain with playful sculptures based on aquatic themes.

African Grasslands Phase 1 – Expansion of the existing giraffe exhibit will include antelope species. This phase will include new state-of-the-art elephant and cheetah habitats replacing dated hoofstock and zebra enclosures and a new hippo exhibit, event lawn and expanded and enhanced Garden of the Senses.

African Grasslands Phase 2 – This redeveloped zone is located at the former elephant and rhino site at the eastern end of the Zoo, will showcase savanna predator and prey species including lions, wild dogs, rhinos, and one of the largest sable herds in the United States.
This area also includes the possibility of Nile crocodiles. An African Village hub will include restrooms and the opportunity for guests to purchase food, drinks and gifts. This area will also include an overnight bush camp concept near the African Village.

Asian Highlands – New anchor exhibit attraction winding through an existing undeveloped forest valley and hillside featuring the Zoo’s tiger collection. Other species would include leopard, takin, gaur, camel, red panda, sun bear and birds. A visitor food, gift and restroom cluster will be at the base of the main path.

Andean Foothills – New anchor exhibit attractions at the northwest corner of the Zoo featuring South American predators including Andean bears, jaguars, and puma, as well as Chilean flamingos and a diverse array of birds, and reptiles. A themed village with restrooms, and food and gift shop will anchor the entry and exit to this new attraction.

Coastal Shores – New sea lion and polar bear exhibits surrounding a North American coastal themed children’s splash zone and play area. This will be located adjacent to the existing carousel area on the site formally occupied by bears, swan valley and points north. This area will also include family changing areas, a café with food and drink, and trellis sheltered seating for parents and families.

Equatorial Africa – Expanding on the success of adjacent Hubbard Gorilla Valley, this project will add Central Africa forest dwellers such as okapi, red river hogs, and bongo, as an immersive outdoor forest trail experience. This will also include enhancing the existing gorilla food service and restroom cluster along with a new outdoor seating plaza.

Adventure Education - New Adventure Education hub, located northwest of and adjacent to the Desert Dome, with special classrooms linked to active hands-on laboratories, small mammal exhibits, and adventure play areas. This area includes a 350 student kindergarten and high school which expands our commitment to education which is a key component to our mission statement. A new dedicated Children’s Zone with rides, exhibits, play areas, splash zones, snack and gift, and a shaded plaza and garden with seating for parents. A snack and beverage and outdoor trellis covered seating where families can sit and watch their kids play.

Komodo Dragon Exhibit – This exhibit will be new to our collection and will provide a major attraction that will help with the transformation of the Desert Dome plaza area.

Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo Director and CEO Dennis Pate said, “We are all excited about the possibilities of building on a great zoo.”

Electronic images are available upon request.

Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo is located at Nebraska’s I-80, Exit 454 and is open year-round. Summer hours are 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. daily. Admission prices for 2010 are $11.50 for adults, $7.75 for children (ages 3–11) and $10 for seniors. Household memberships are available for $88 and valid until March 31, 2011. Additional information can be found on the website, www.omahazoo.com.

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