WACO, TX — During the 2019 election, McLennan County voters approved a bond for the expansion of Cameron Park Zoo. While COVID-19 has pushed back the expansion plans, the zoo is now back to full speed ahead on the planning and development.
Voters gave the thumbs up for a $14.5 million dollar expansion bond that will give Cameron Park Zoo some wild new additions to benefit both zoo lovers and the animal residents.
“Last November, about a year ago from right now, we passed a bond, about 66.5% favorable, to add on to the Cameron Park Zoo,” said Cameron Park Zoo Deputy Director Johnny Binder.
The expansion will include a penguin exhibit, a veterinary clinic and an educational complex, as well as a hoof stock barn for the African Safari animals.
“Hopefully we are going to be breaking ground, I would bet right after the first of the year. We’re still in conversations about that, and the construction project maybe one and a half to two years,” said Binder.
The best part? The zoo will remain open despite the construction.
“All of these projects, and they are all done behind the scenes. So we will not have to close any buildings or any sidewalks to do any of these projects, and if it works out, we can even do them concurrently,” Binder explained.
The expansion will be completed in stages.
“The hoof stock barn is in our current African Savana area. It’s a replacement to an older building. That project will be first. We are nearing completion of the plans for the hoof stock facility, and then we will move on the veterinary and education complex, which will be located on the southeast side of our current parking lot," said Binder. "The penguin facility is called Penguin Shores, and it will be South African penguins, warm weather penguins, and it will be located in the northeast corner of the zoo near the herpetarium right off of Herring Avenue."
Binder told 25 News zoo employees are thrilled to continue to grow and improve Cameron Park Zoo and can’t thank the community enough for their support in passing this bond.