FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 1, 2008
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Memphis Zoo is pleased to announce a bold new expansion plan that will nearly quadruple its size to a total of 342 acres.
"We couldn't be more thrilled about this tremendous opportunity," said Memphis Zoo director Chuck Brady. "We have this great slogan we like to chant at staff meetings -- The zoo of tomorrow begins today! -- that really inspires everything we do."
Beginning today, the Memphis Zoo will construct a 15-foot wall around the perimeter of the 342-acre Overton Park. Public access to the park will be controlled by the Zoo.
The wall was designed by a German architectural firm. "We were looking for a cosmopolitan yet timeless look, and we're very excited about implementing this design," said Zoo spokesman Brian Carter.
"This expansion has been part of our master plan for the past 20 years," Carter added, "and we want to reassure everyone that the Zoo has no immediate plans to limit public use of Overton Park, as long as you pay the admission fee."
Money-making park attractions, such as the golf course and Brooks Museum, will remain open but will be enclosed in glass so that Zoo visitors can observe rare and endangered human subspecies (Fine Art Supporters and Golfers Who Walk) in their natural habitats.
The remainder of the park will be converted into exhibits and parking lots, with a hotel complex and shopping mall in the works. "The best part is that we can fund many of these projects with onsite resources," said Brady. "All we have to do is strip the old-growth timber and truck it to the sawmill, and we've had plenty of practice doing that."
The Zoo's future exhibit plans include:
- Zambezi River Hippo Camp. This exhibit will allow visitors to experience daily life in a typical African village along the Zambezi River. Avoid the hungry jaws of hippos and crocs while fishing for your dinner! Fend off starvation as you learn how to slaughter and stew your own goat!
- Serengeti on the Greensward. Thrill to the sight of giraffes, elephants, antelopes and rhinos roaming freely across the grasslands, tossing a Frisbee back and forth, as nature intended!
- Chickasaw Bluff. This long-awaited exhibit will replicate the old-growth forest that typified the Mississippi River Valley in the mid-1800s, featuring ivory-billed woodpeckers, Carolina parakeets, and passenger pigeons! Enjoy the exciting paddleboat ride, "Shoot the Chute," and a pioneer-themed food court that offers fresh bannock cake, catfish fritters, succotash, and blackberry cordial!
"We did a private groundbreaking ceremony with champagne and Oysters Rockefeller and so forth," said Brady. "Over the years, we've realized that this kind of event is always a more pleasant experience for our major donors if they don't have to rub elbows with the hoi polloi."