Apr 20, 2023 - News

Sneak peek at the San Antonio Zoo's new entrance

A rendering of the upcoming entrance for the San Antonio Zoo shows a gorilla statue, purple and pink butterfly art and greenery.

Rendering of the zoo's entrance project. Photo: Courtesy of the San Antonio Zoo

An overhauled San Antonio Zoo gate and entry plaza will greet visitors by the end of the year.

What's happening: Zoo CEO Tim Morrow told Axios the entry renovation, the first phase of a 10- to 15-year master plan, will "set the tone" for the zoo. It's slated for a November completion.

Details: Once completed, the entrance area will feature a gorilla sculpture, a lemur skywalk, a larger gift shop, an open-air event space and a café. Local artists will also be commissioned to create animal-themed art pieces throughout the space.

  • The café will be housed in a 1936 rock building formerly known as the Monkey House.
  • "I think it's going to be awe-inspiring when people see the beauty of this historic building," Morrow said.
  • PGAV Destinations, a St. Louis-based firm, is working on the project.
Rendering shows an interior view of the zoo's new entry plaza.
An interior view of the zoo's upcoming entrance renovation. Photo: Courtesy of the San Antonio Zoo

By the numbers: Morrow said the entrance renovation will cost approximately $13 million. It's funded by a 2022 city bond issue, the city's tax increment reinvestment zone revenue and zoo fundraising.

What they're saying: "It's efficient, it's safe, it's accessible and fun. We want it to feel almost like Fiesta when you walk into our entrance," Morrow said.

  • Renderings shared with Axios show papel picado-lined plazas, tiled accents, stone walkways and pergolas.

During construction, zoo guests will enter through the orange gate near the parking garage and a blue gate near Kiddie Park.

What's next: Morrow said the renovation also prepares the zoo for the return of the gorilla exhibit after more than 30 years. The zoo is working with its animal care team and biologists on the exhibit, which is planned for an early-2025 opening.

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