The Dallas Zoo’s top priority is upgrading its aging facilities, including its indoor breeding program, and making the zoo more welcoming for visitors, the zoo’s president said Tuesday.
The zoo’s board of directors unanimously approved the $3,500 million plan for the $1.2 billion facility, which includes a new indoor breeding facility, a new zoo tour center, new exhibits and an indoor exhibit building, which will include a glass ceiling, new lighting, and a new sound system.
The plan is a $100 million investment that is expected to bring more than 1,000 new and seasonal animals and more than $1 million in additional revenue to the zoo, said the zoo board president, Jim Sifton.
The new facilities will be designed to be welcoming for children and other visitors to the Dallas Zoo, and will have more space and better lighting, he said.
The $3 million will go toward the new indoor exhibit that opened in 2015, which was the first to open in the zoo.
It features new exhibits with more than 10,000 animals and is expected open this summer.
“We are excited about what the new exhibits will do for our visitors,” Sifson said.
“They will be a new destination, they will be more welcoming and more interactive for visitors and the people who come here to see the animals.”
He said that the new facility will include new exhibits to highlight the evolution of the animals in the exhibit and new exhibits designed to give visitors a better sense of what to expect at the zoo as they visit.
The facility will also get a new $3 billion, 3,000-seat arena for the Dallas Cowboys football team that will be built on top of the existing arena.
The stadium is expected be ready for the 2017 season, but Sifston said that it will be ready “a year or two before the Cowboys play.”
Sifton said the board was concerned about the zoo having to close for the winter months because of snow and ice, but that he has been assured that the facility will be open by the end of next season.
The Dallas Zoo has a $2.3 billion budget, but the board has proposed that the zoo make about $100,000 a day by selling tickets for special events.
The zoo board is seeking a $5 million grant from the state Department of Commerce for the facility’s $1,000 annual operating budget.