GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) — The Greenville Zoo is preparing to make $5 million in upgrades to its exhibits. It will use the million it received from state funds and is raising the additional funds through private donations.
“This is exactly what we should be investing and partnering in,” said State Rep. Chandra Dillard, who helped secure the state funding.
“This zoo is critically important,” added Dillard. “It’s an economic development attraction. There are thousands of visitors each year. It’s also an educational resource.”
The zoo is focusing on four projects that William Cooper, the zoo’s administrator, said he hopes to complete in the next five years. First, the zoo plans to build a platform that will allow visitors to feed giraffes. It is expected to open in April 2023.
“If you’ve never fed a giraffe before, you’ll never forget it,” said Cooper. “It’s one of the most compelling things you’ll ever do.”
Not far from the giraffes, the zoo is designing a new Africa Plaza to give visitors a closer look at the lions. It will be equipped with an ADA-compliant pathway.
“We’re going to put in a lion training wall,” said Cooper. “The lion training wall is an opportunity to watch the keepers interact with the lions through mesh and do keeper demonstrations.”
A new, expanded orangutan exhibit will also be built which will allow the animals to spend more time in the air and off the ground, similar to how they live in the wild. Cooper said this will help the zoo meet Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) standards.
“It’s very important as an AZA accredited zoo to teach our visitors, particularly our younger generations, why animals are important in the world,” he said.
The zoo also plans to renovate its farmyard to create a more interactive and hands-on experience for visitors.
“We create experiences here at the Greenville Zoo that inspire people to care about animals and hopefully make a change in their own lives to see what they can do to contribute to conservation programs,” explained Cooper.”
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