Tuesday, January 25, 2022 Jan 25, 2022
46° F Dallas, TX

AFRICA At a Neighborhood Near You

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The Dallas Zoo’s 55-acre Wilds of Africa exhibit is the first zoo exhibit in the world to include every major habitat of an entire continent. With the opening of Phase I, the Wilds of Africa begins spreading its forests, mountains, woodlands, rivers, deserts, and bush over 25 acres. It looks just like Africa. And it’s a lot closer.

The exhibit was developed on a thickly wooded site; many of the area’s existing trees and plants were preserved, and many more were imported to create the feel of tropical rainforests and woodlands. In addition, coursing rivers, waterfalls, even misting machines contribute to the authenticity of the environment.

The Wilds of Africa includes a one-mile monorail ride through the six habitats, offering a close-up view of the African wilderness and wildlife; a Nature Trail that allows visitors to take a self guided safari on foot; the two-acre Jake L Hamon Gorilla Conservation Research Center, complete with a working field research station where visitors can watch important observational research being conducted by scientists on the endangered lowland gorilla; and an African Plaza, where visitors will find a cafe, gift kiosk, and schoolhouse for educational programs.

Behind the scenes, the exhibit also includes 16 animal shelter buildings, a new quarantine building, a waste incinerator, a hay barn, and the monorail operations center.

“The new facilities will enable us to provide animal care, research, visitor services and educational programs at a new, high level of excellence,” says Zoo Director Warren Iliff. “For example, a primary goal of the Dallas Zoo is the conservation and reproduction of endangered species. The Wilds of Africa will provide the space and facilities to allow Zoo curators and staff to expand the scope of existing research and move into new and exciting areas of animal conservation,”

“Our goal is ambitious,” he says. “It is to redefine what zoos are all about, and to place our Dallas Zoo in an international leadership role.”

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