Dallas Zoo Enhancements Receive Council Support

Flamingos at Dallas Zoo
Flamingos at Dallas Zoo | Image by Dallas Zoo/Facebook

Major improvements are in the works for the oldest and largest zoo in Texas.

Dallas City Council members are in favor of a $100 million capital bond request that would support sweeping upgrades at the Dallas Zoo, including specific projects on the safari trail, community connectivity improvements, as well as general safety and security enhancements, according to a recent meeting with the city’s Parks, Trails, and Environment Committee.

Established in 1888, the Dallas Zoo is considered one of the premiere jewels of the city. The 106-acre zoo welcomes approximately 1 million guests annually and includes more than 2,000 animals, 350 species, award-winning habitats, and more. It also offers the only full-time nature-based preschool in Southern Dallas.

The Dallas Zoo’s proposed enhancements include a new 580-space parking garage, a new Safari Trail exhibit with rhinos and cheetahs, a large, indoor climate-controlled elephant room, and a Wild-Earth Discovery education center.

Despite competition from the Fort Worth Zoo, District 7 Council Member Adam Bazaldua said continued financial investments from stakeholders and local officials have propelled the Dallas Zoo to become one of the best zoos in the nation.

“I remember my mom saying the Fort Worth Zoo is so much better. Now, my mom is telling me, trying to take the grandkids to the Dallas Zoo any chance she can possibly get,” said Bazaldua during the committee meeting.

Due to the strong commitment by zoo officials to see the Dallas Zoo get “better and better,” Bazaldua said, he’s never had to question whether the city will get a return on its investment.

While the main focus of the committee meeting involved the $100 million bond campaign, zoo officials also discussed their goal to increase diversity among its Board of Directors, as reported by The Dallas Express.

“The commitment to a diverse and equitable board was one of the driving factors behind me accepting the position,” said Lisa New, director and chief executive officer at the Dallas Zoo.

Dallas residents can vote on the Zoo’s proposed funding plan in May.

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