Photos and Updates
January 6: Schoelzel Family Village Begins to Emerge
The pathway just outside the perimeter of the Toyota Elephant Passage exhibit will be closed from January 10 through the end of February for construction of underground utilities. This closure spans from the okapi exhibit to the kudu exhibit, while the rest of the zoo remains open.
Meanwhile, behind the construction fence, the project continues on schedule. In the Asian Village area the zoo will show guests a diverse array of Asian animals and their complex relationships with mankind. (Learn more about these strained relationships in this video.) A great deal of progress has been made on this area of the exhibit, including the completion of the roof of the Clouded Leopard building. Crews are currently working on the interior.
Also within the Schoelzel Family Village area, construction of the El Pomar Pavilion continues to progress with the completion of walls and the roof installation underway. This important area of the exhibit will house indoor displays of flying foxes (large bats), Asian small clawed otters and fishing cats. Once completed, guests will have the opportunity to view some of the world's largest bats up close or to even go inside their habitat! The interior of this building will allow guests to slip through the roots of a strangler fig tree, to go inside the bat enclosure for the ultimate close encounter with these endangered fruit bats.
Walls 21 feet high can be seen being formed on the Clayton F. Freiheit Elephant House, which will be the largest bull (male) elephant house in the country. The eight bedrooms will form a semi-circle around the parlor area, a communal space for the elephants. A viewing area into the parlor also is planned for the exhibit.
The extensive rockwork continues throughout the exhibit while the permanent viewing tower is being constructed. Designed for special tours, this tower will give a bird’s eye view of the outdoor exhibits and a chance for special guests to feed the elephants! Fitting with the zoo's efforts to be the greenest zoo in the country, the tower base is being constructed of beetle-kill wood.
With seven buildings taking shape, four pools installed and the animal transfer bridge (Peter & Ella’s Crossing) in place, the exhibit is truly becoming a reality with each passing day.