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12 Oct 2021
Jacksonville Zoo reveals US$50m masterplan
By Tom Walker
Jacksonville Zoo reveals US$50m masterplan
The Rezoovenation project will transform the zoo
Photo: Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in Florida, US has launched a fundraising campaign to fund an ambitious US$50m redevelopment and redesign project.

To be completed in phases over five years, the redevelopment will expand the number of animal habitats, introduce entirely new species and increase the number of conservation initiatives at the zoo, while also improving educational spaces and adding new guest services.

A masterplan for the development – under the working name of Rezoovenation: The Campaign to Inspire – includes a new Manatee River exhibit, which is being supported first by US$3m from J Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver, honorary chairs of the campaign and the relocation of the main entrance to improve visitor flow.

Forming the first phase of the development, the two projects are scheduled to be completed by mid-2023.

These will be followed by a new lion habitat with a scenic overlook, an expanded and immersive elephant exhibit, and the addition of orangutans in a space with extensive room to climb.

The zoo's executive director, Tony Vecchio, said: "At its core, Rezoovenation is about inspiring the future.

"We've cast a bold vision: we want to welcome Florida visitors and become the number one zoo in the United States. To accomplish that, we're embarking upon the largest capital campaign in the history of the Zoo.

"Rezoovenation will touch nearly every corner of the Zoo, beginning with an innovative, immersive arrival experience and benefiting animals and visitors alike.

"Both new and expanded animal habitats will reflect our commitment to wellness-inspired designs and one-of-a-kind animal experiences, allowing more than a million guests each year to be inspired as they meander through exquisite ecosystems, learning about the diversity of the natural world in new and exciting ways."

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