The Philadelphia Zoo has broken ground on "a redefined world-class children’s zoo" to be called the Hamilton Family Children’s Zoo and Education Center. The new major exhibit, which will take over the Zoo’s old pachyderm House, is scheduled to open in spring 2013.
According to the Zoo’s announcement, the exhibit will emphasize science wildlife and conservation through hands-on learning activities. Among its key features:
- The Children’s Zoo will be a year-round destination — abundant indoor and outdoor features will make it less weather-dependent and will appeal to children ages 2-13.
- The Zoo’s current children’s zoo animals — goats, sheep, ducks and backyard bugs — will be joined by colorful butterflies, budgies and tropical fish, all connecting a conservation message.
- Heritage breed goats, sheep and chickens will delight visitors with their unique appearances and convey the importance of species diversity.
- The building will be LEED-certified and include a number of “green” features — green roof, cisterns to recycle waste water and geothermal heating.
- Children will be engaged in animal care: grooming, feeding and learning how to improve animals’ lives.
- The Zoo’s new dynamic design — overhead animal trails — will connect exhibits and allow animals to move throughout the Zoo, creating a constantly-changing experience for the animals and guests.
- All of the Zoo’s educational programming and its teaching collection will be housed in one space to support more comprehensive programs.