Heart of the Zoo Exhibits, Gift Shop and Education Campus Improvements Coming in 2024

Dec 11, 2023

tiger licking cage

Zoo Boise, a division of Boise Parks and Recreation, is gearing up for a series of construction projects that will kick off in the new year. These zoo improvements will not only update popular habitats for beloved animals but will improve accessibility and educational opportunities for all visitors.

“This is an exciting time for Zoo Boise as the ‘Heart of the Zoo’ gets a much needed facelift,” said Boise Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway. “We’re grateful for the leadership of Director Gene Peacock and the Friends of Zoo Boise non-profit team as they fundraise to complete the first phase of projects in coordination with the City of Boise.”

An Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) accredited facility, Zoo Boise and its staff take pride in providing the best possible care for all of the animals that call the zoo home. Building a brand new home for the popular red pandas, improving the Small Animal Kingdom building housing monkeys, Aldabra tortoise Mr. Mac, and more and creating a new education campus for program participants and volunteers will help Zoo Boise take its conservation mission to the next level. Learn more about efforts to rebuild and improve the heart of Zoo Boise on the zoo’s website.

“Our zoo is an incredible place for learning, exploration and real-world conservation action,” added Mayor Lauren McLean. “The community has stepped up in the form of donations to help make these improvements happen and it’s no surprise. Boiseans, local businesses and all of the visitors who enter the zoo’s front gate can see the incredible impact this work has on a global scale when it comes to animal conservation in Gorongosa National Park and beyond.”

Thanks to corporate donors, private foundations and many generous individuals in our community, Friends of Zoo Boise has raised approximately $7.8 million to complete this first phase of construction. However, about $2.5 million is needed to close the final gap and complete these projects. Anyone interested in donating to the ‘Heart of the Zoo’ campaign can do so online.

“Now is the time that we must rebuild the Heart of the Zoo and ensure that Zoo Boise exceeds all standards for animal well-being, provides excellent and unique education opportunities for our community, and leads the way for conservation among zoos,” said Friends of Zoo Boise Fundraising Chair Treacy Liebich. “I ask our community to join me in making a donation to this campaign by January 30, 2024 to secure a bright future for Zoo Boise. And for folks who donate soon, we have a generous donor who is triple matching every donation up to $100,000.”

As fundraising continues, construction is expected to start on the new red panda home and gift shop in the spring of 2024. Zoo Boise will continue to communicate with visitors about the impact to certain exhibits or areas of the zoo that may be closed during construction. However, rest assured that all of the animals will be well taken care of during these improvement projects.

Zoo Boise has turned the act of visiting the zoo into a conservation action. Since 2007, visits to Zoo Boise have generated more than $3 million towards the conservation of animals in the wild, redefining why we have a zoo. As mentioned, Zoo Boise is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, a national organization that supports excellence in animal care, conservation, education, and science. The zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with last admission at 4 p.m.