Monday, August 16, 2010

N.C. Zoo -- the world's largest -- looking into expansion

From News 14 Carolina:

The world's largest acreage of zoo is located in the heart of the Piedmont Triad and soon the North Carolina Zoo could see some big changes.

Over the last three days, the city and county government met with members of the zoo staff and a New York based consulting firm to discuss the the wildlife center's future. Already the North Carolina Zoo is unique both in size and layout.

“North Carolina Zoological Park is now the largest zoological facility acreage in the world at 2,100 acres," said N.C. Zoo Director Dr. David Jones.

The 1,500 acre main site houses an African and North American exhibit and takes tourist nearly half a day to explore. Now the zoo is looking into opening an Asian exhibit which could keep visitors around a little longer.

"If they had another exhibit it would probably either take the whole day or you could spread it up and spend the night here and you know enjoy this area too," said visitor Megan Hendricks.

Which is exactly why the group decided to bring in an outside consulting firm to help decide if the expanding the zoo is worth the money. 273 acres of adjacent land owned by the zoo society, that could potentially house a new hotel and conference center for the additional visitors. ...

If the zoo expands, so could current and future highway access to the site. Funds for the study were provided by local tourism development authority, the city, county, the economic development corporation, and the zoo. The consulting firm will now develop a comprehensive report on the potential for the Asian region and rough plans for it's design.

That report should be completed by the end of November.

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