The Erie Zoo is wild about its future in Erie, Pennsylvania.
For the first time in 25 years, officials announced that they are embarking on a campaign to take the Zoo’s Wild Open Spaces to the next level. The Zoo’s goal is to raise $10 million through the generosity of individuals, businesses, corporations, foundations and community organizations who want to be part of writing the next chapter of the Zoo’s history. Approximately $7 million has already been secured.
“The support from this campaign will help with the transformational project of our city and create more Wild Open Spaces for our Zoo,” explains President and CEO Scott Mitchell. “As technology and other distractions increasingly keep people from experiencing nature, the 15-acre Zoo has become an even more important means to rekindle a love and respect for wildlife and inspire partnership in protecting our natural world.”
According to Zoo officials, the campaign will help it better meet the needs of its animals and plants, as well as improve the experience for guests. Of the $10 million planned for the project, $2 million will be used for improvements to the JMC Ice Arena next door.
The Master Plan
The proposed Master Plan to the park will offer more Wild Open Spaces for animals and help the Zoo better meet the needs of the animals and plants in its care — creating a unique environment that will be enjoyed for generations to come.
Among the Zoo’s enhancements:
• The main entrance to the Zoo will be redesigned, complete with new parking areas, a welcome plaza, expanded gift shop and renovated train station.
• For the first time in 50 years, the footprint of the Zoo will be expanding, making room for a state-of-the-art giraffe building and yard.
• A new outdoor classroom will provide an ideal location for programs to be held in the very place participants come to the Zoo to explore — the great outdoors.
• A new bear exhibit will house an endangered species of bear, which will allow for the possibility of a pair to breed in the future.
• Additional exhibits, including an indoor concession area offering views into adjacent exhibits, will be created in the heart of the Zoo, bringing new life to the oldest and most outdated areas of the park.
• New species added to the Erie Zoo family will be selected based on their needs for protection and opportunities for breeding. Each new exhibit also will be constructed to allow for animal training exercises and educational demonstrations.
The Erie Zoo has been an integral part of the community since its founding in 1924, becoming one of the region’s most treasured destinations. The Erie Zoo has more than 400 animals, while the botanical gardens and greenhouse have over 600 species of plants from around the world.
For more information about the Wild Open Spaces campaign, visit https://www.eriezoo.org/capital-campaign.