Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has demolished their 58-year-old aquatics building to make way for a new Hippo and Penguin exhibit.
The new exhibit will be funded through the $10.4 million Making Waves capital campaign.
A demolition ceremony took place on the 23rd August.
Preparations for the demolition have been taking place for over a year. In August 2016, the zoo’s two Nile hippos, Zambezi and Kasai, went on “vacation” to Dickerson Park Zoo in Missouri. The other species that lived in the building were moved to different parts of the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Some were moved to other accredited zoos around the country.
Zoo President and CEO, Bob Chastain, says he is excited for the demolition, as it symbolizes progress – which he wants Cheyenne Mountain Zoo to be known for.
He explained: “We try to provide the public with something brand new and exciting every few years, so we are keeping the trend going. Constant improvement and progress are part of our recipe for success here at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. This exhibit is going to be expansive, functional and sustainable, and – best of all – we will get to bring our hippos back home.”
GE Johnson will manage both the demolition and the construction of the new exhibit. CEO of GE Johnson, Jim Johnson, says: “It is an honor to return to the Zoo to work on this one-of-a-kind project that will provide a new, sustainable home for the hippos and penguins to enjoy.”
The new exhibit will host the park’s two Nile hippos and a flock of around 18 African penguins. A suspension bridge will also lead to a nature-themed play area.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoological Society was founded in 1926. Today, America’s only mountain zoo offers education programs, conservation efforts and animal experiences.
Of the 230 zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is one of just nine operating without tax support.
Image Courtesy of Cheyenne Mountain Zoo