The entrance of the Fort Worth Zoo (Katherine Griffith/Line Editor)
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The second phase of the Fort Worth Zoo’s master plan to expand the park and give guests more interaction with animals is set to open later this month.

The plan, entitled “A Wilder Vision” began in 2018 with the opening of a new African Savannah part of the park.

This is the first major renovation to the zoo since the 1990s and the goal is to give guests more in-person interactions with the animals. 

Now, the zoo is putting its final touches on Elephant Springs before its scheduled opening on April 15. 

“What we are looking for is new and unique opportunities for guests to be able to observe and interact with animals at the zoo,” said Avery Elander, the assistant director of communications at the Fort Worth Zoo.  “We are also providing new enriching opportunities and more spaces in habitats.”

In the African Savannah, guests can feed the giraffes lettuce and be eye-to-eye with an animal they wouldn’t normally encounter. In Elephant Springs, guests will have the opportunity to spray water into the elephant’s new exhibit. 

The elephant’s new exhibit will more than triple the size of its old one. 

Pandemic construction

COVID-19 caused the zoo to shut down from March 14 to May 29 last year, and they took some hits financially. 

“We had to close down during spring break which is one of our very popular times to visit at the zoo,” Elander said. “We weren’t able to have a lot of our fundraisers, and as a non-profit that relies heavily on admissions dollars, it definitely took a toll on us.”

However, the shutdown did not cause construction to slow down due to nice weather and minimal rain.

The fast-paced construction allowed the zoo to break ground on its third phase of “A Wilder Vision” called “Hunters of African and Asian Predators.” This will be home to lions, tigers, zebras as well as some new species. 

Guests have to make reservations on the Fort Worth Zoo website prior to visiting under current COVID-19 guidelines. 

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