A 100-million dollar expansion is underway at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha. Several major projects are simultaneously in the works. Zoo director Lee Simmons says construction is just beginning on the eight-million dollar Madagascar exhibit, which should be opening to visitors next summer.
Simmons says, "We’re clearing ground, getting the site ready right now and hope within the next couple of weeks to actually break ground on the building itself." He says they’ve reached an agreement with the city for the zoo to obtain the property that’s now Rosenblatt Stadium, a baseball park. A new artic center is planned to be built on current ballpark’s parking lot. Simmons says what’s now the stadium will become zoo parking.
"It would occupy most of our current parking space which makes acquiring the Rosenblatt property absolutely essential for the economic well being of the zoo," he says. The zoo’s new butterfly and insect pavilion opened a few weeks ago, featuring hundreds of free-flying butterflies and unusual insects. Down the road, Simmons says people will be able to enjoy a new Australian Outback center.
It will include, he says, "An Australian outback that you would walk through with kangaroos and wallabys and emus, a new antelope valley, an expansion of our sea lion area." Simmons also wants to expand the elephant area of the zoo, and he says there’s another feature that visitors will enjoy. He says it’s a "chair lift that would take you from the butterfly house clear up across the top of the zoo and bring you up to where the new elephant area would be." For more on what’s new at the zoo, visit the Zoo website .