Study Unveils Vision For New $110M Baton Rouge Zoo
BATON ROUGE (AP) — A study has unveiled a vision for a new Baton Rouge zoo that could attract over 375,000 visitors each year and generate more than $10 million annually.
The study, commissioned by the Friends of the Baton Rouge Zoo late last year, was presented to the BREC Board of Commissioners, which oversees zoo operations, at its most recent meeting, according to the Baton Rouge Business Report’s Steve Sanoski.
The study, prepared by Philadelphia-based Schultz & Williams, calls for a more interactive zoo experience that appeals to attendees of all ages.
"It is time to move the zoo in a new direction," Carolyn McKnight, BREC Superintendent said.
"The Vision for the New Baton Rouge Zoo" includes possible components such as zip lines, adventure courses and a sky lift to provide a "bird's eye view of the animals." Also included in the vision are splash pads, water rides, a carousel and new dining and shopping options.
The study envisions a wider offering of animal experiences at the zoo, with themed exhibits and experiences such as "Elephant Oasis," ''Giraffe Encounters," ''An Asian Escape – Tigers, Primates, Antelope & Birds," ''The South American Cloud Forest Adventure," ''Wild Louisiana – Atchafalaya Basin" and a "Walk-Through Free-Flight Aviary Experience."
The study estimates it will cost $110 million to make this vision for the new zoo a reality. The zoo hopes to privately raise $25 million to get the project started.
Schultz & Williams conducted dozens of interviews with local stakeholders as part of the study. While fifty percent of them said securing $110 million through multiple financing sources is achievable, another thirty-one percent said maybe and nineteen percent said it's unlikely.