Extreme Makeover: Zoo Edition

According to the Examiner our National Zoo is due for a 20 year makeover that will cost anywhere between $900 million and $1.1 billion. They will be focusing mainly on patron experience, which was certainly not amazing last time I was there. Here’s what they’ll be addressing:

  • THERE’S NOT NEARLY ENOUGH PARKING: The 20 year plan calls for a parking garage with 1,128 spaces. This will allow the zoo to transform the current 868 spaces of surface parking into new exhibits. 12 acres made up of seven new exhibits in fact.
  • GETTING AROUND THE ZOO IS VERY DIFFICULT: Zoo Executive Director John Berry compares it to “walking the stairs of a 16-story office building.” The park will be adding an aerial tram that will stretch the entire length of the park and feature three stops.
  • IT’S DIFFICULT TO FIND BENCHES, WATER, FOOD, AND RESTROOMS: This also contributes to the difficulties some people have getting around the park because it makes it tough to take a break. Park officials recognize that amenities are clustered and that the park is overall out of date. They will be building new plazas and making amenities available throughout the zoo under the new plan.

One footnote on the plan is that it will depend entirely on private donations.

2 Comments so far

  1. pilatesgal220 on November 8th, 2008 @ 10:56 am

    This was very informative, Anthony, especially for those of us who no longer have small children and now can go to the zoo unencumbered. The last time I visited was when my son was small, and he’s an adult now!

    It will be difficult to get private donations with folks watching every penny these days. However, if enough people come forward who feel passionately about the zoo and can manage a small donation, hopefully there will be those who can afford a more sizeable amount. This will be a major fund-raising effort!

  2. Anthony Marenna (amarenna) on November 8th, 2008 @ 1:34 pm

    Thanks for your comment! I think the best way to tackle the fundraising issue would be to solicit the very wealthy. The Zoo should offer to name the new plazas after donors who contribute over a certain amount.

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