TOPEKA (KSNT) – The Topeka Zoo is breaking ground on a new “Giraffe and Friends” exhibit Tuesday morning. The nearly $8 million dollar project is the largest and most expensive project in the zoo’s history.
The new exhibit will be located on three acres south of Camp Cowabunga in the Topeka Zoo. It will include a 10,000 square foot giraffe housing facility and a 4,000 square foot hoof stock barn. The hoof stock barn will house other animals as well, including antelope, gazelle and some big birds.
Zoo Director Brendan Wiley said the new exhibit represents a big step forward for the Topeka Zoo.
“It’s going to take that very much loved giraffe program and move it to a new place in the zoo that is much, much larger,” Wiley said. “A modern facility where we can really accommodate not only the emotional and psychological well-being of the animals but their physical health needs.”
The current giraffe exhibit was built in 1966. Wiley said it does not meet current standards and lacks the space needed for the animals.
The “Giraffe and Friends” exhibit is expected to be finished in May 2022 and open in June 2022. Wiley said they have secured $6.7 million for the new project and hope to raise the other $1.3 million over the next year.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the “Giraffe and Friends” exhibit will be Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. in Camp Cowabunga at the Topeka Zoo.