Image: © Grahm S. Jones/ Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Columbus Zoo and the Wilds Announced $50 Million in Upgrades


The Animal Facts Editorial Team


March 2, 2023 1:40 am


Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Ohio, The United States

The animals of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium will enjoy improved lives thanks to $50 million in upgrades set to be rolled out as part of a major capital spending program over the coming 12 to 18 months. Announced today the plan will improve the winter holding for the bonobo family while $32.5 million will see the North America region redeveloped.

This spring construction will commence on the new bonobo winter holding. Through this upgrade the bonobo family will be provided with more space and allow the bonobos to play, learn, and continue to thrive in their family groups. $4 million of the budget has been earmarked for this program.

Updates to the North America region will see a modernisation of the zoo's oldest zone. In the first stage of this upgrade new habitats will be developed for gray wolf, bald eagle, black bear, North American river otter, and Canada lynx. In a release the zoo stated the new zone will become, "'a destination where guests can learn about the native species of our beautiful country while engaging in ways to protect the world’s most precious creatures.''

A range of smaller upgrades will be carried out with an $8 million budget for animal wellbeing and habitat improvements, facility upgrades, new technology, enhanced security, and more

“We are excited to announce these significant projects and improvements. These projects, along with other enhancements focused on animal wellbeing, are modernizing our nearly 100-year old Zoo, providing more security for our guests, and improving the lives of our animals, said Tom Schmid, President and CEO of the Columbus Zoo and The Wilds.

Over at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium's sister site, The Wilds, guests will be able to stay onsite with the development of a $7 million, 59 acre RV campground. Features of the site include 46 spots for RVs, 27 primitive camping spots, hiking, biking trails, a playground, a camp store, a dog park, two shower houses, and fishing and swimming will be available at a nearby lake. Guests are expected to be able to stay at the site from early 2024.

Funding for this capital campaign has been sourced from federal and state grants, philanthropic donations, and earned revenue.

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More on the Bonobo!

Often the bonobo is confused with the chimpanzee. Indeed they were not separated off to become their own species until 1933.

Our Favourite Bonobo Fact!

Girls rule in bonobo society. Large groups made up of as many as 80 individuals are led by a female. These large groups will break down in to smaller groups of between 3 and 6 individuals when foraging.

Image: © Amanda Carberry/ Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

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