FORT WAYNE – Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo officials are quietly trying to raise $5 million for an expansion.
Officials won’t discuss details before obtaining a commitment for a greater portion of the millions of dollars needed to proceed.
The current manager of the zoo’s Australian Adventure exhibit area is retiring, and the zoo is seeking a replacement to oversee the area, Director Jim Anderson said.
An online job posting seeking the “Area Manager” said the person hired “will help manage a $5 million renovation of the zoo’s 4.5-acre Australian Adventure exhibit area, currently in advanced planning.”
According to the classified ad, the Australian Adventure includes “dingoes, eastern gray kangaroos, a dozen bird species, a handful of herps, and 74,000 gallons of sea water in four aquatic exhibits featuring sharks, tropical fish, and jellies. New in the renovation program will be a permanent stingray habitat.”
Anderson declined further comment on the renovation, saying it is “way too early in the fundraising venture.”
The zoo completed its last renovation last year, which included a new plaza, ticket booth and a safer drop-off area for visitors at a cost of $1.3 million. In June 2009, it completed a $9.5 million expansion of the 20-acre African exhibit, Anderson said.
Anderson described the zoo’s current effort as the “silent fundraising stage,” stressing they have no idea if they will be successful in raising the needed dollars. The exact scope of the project will depend on how much is raised, Anderson said.