Cincinnati Zoo to add entrance, Roo Valley and more space for exhibits

The Cincinnati Zoo announces plans to expand exhibit areas, a new Roo Valley and ropes course and a new entrance (Cincinnati Zoo)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - The Cincinnati Zoo plans to make some big changes including a new entrance, expanded areas for animals like the elephants and a new Australian exhibit. To pay for all of that, it's launching a $150 million fundraising campaign called More Home to Roam.

Thane Maynard said the Cincinnati Zoo is designed to accommodate one million visitors a year. Nearly double that number visited in 2017. Twelve thousand people went to the Zoo on Wednesday. The Zoo will add an entrance and a pedestrian bridge over Erkenbrecher Avenue.

The Cincinnati Zoo wants to make sure its giraffes and elephants have that home to roam. The four Asian elephants currently have an acre of land. Maynard says the goal is to have eight to ten elephants and five acres for them in the area that's currently the Safari parking lot.

Black rhinos are important to the Cincinnati Zoo. They're featured on the logo. Plans call for doubling the space for them. Maynard said they're committed to teaching about the endangered species here, breeding them here and working in Africa on rhino conservation.

Plans also call for a new Australian exhibit called Roo Valley in the Wildlife Canyon area. It will feature small wallabies to big red and gray kangaroos. The little penguins, which are from Australia and Tasmania, would be moved there. An adventure ropes course will be added as well as a beer garden deck.

The fundraising campaign got a jump start with a $50 million gift from Harry and Linda Fath. It's the largest donation to the Cincinnati Zoo in its history. The Cincinnati Zoo hopes to reach its goal by 2025, its 150th anniversary.

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