(Michigan City, IN) - The City of Michigan City will spend over $1.6 million on renovations to Washington Park Zoo’s African Lion and Bengal Tiger exhibits.
Officials said the project would bring new, state-of-the-art habitats to 1975 outdoor habitats.
Officials said the new exhibit would include enhanced visitor experiences and provide more room for the animals to roam, romp and rest. Specifically, the plans call to add 3,000 square feet of space to the outdoor habitats that will feature more climbing areas and well-equipped holding areas for rest and evening meals.
Visitors to the exhibits will also learn about the natural habitats of the big cats and why it is important to conserve the regions of the world where they live, officials said.
The Michigan City Park Board approved the five-year strategic plan for Washington Park Zoo.
The plans also include future renovation of historic monkey island, construction of an all-season, free-flight aviary for the very popular Wings of Wonder parakeet exhibit, and construction of a new classroom and gift shop building to replace the outgrown existing facilities.
According to officials, funding for the Big Cat Canyon Project came from various sources, including the Michigan City Common Council, the Michigan City Redevelopment Commission, the Michigan City Enrichment Corporation, the Michigan City Park Board, and the Michigan City Zoological Society. In addition, private donors include WHM Motorsports team owner Billy Mauff, the Otto and Margaret Zack Charitable Trust, and other local donors.
Construction is scheduled to begin July 5, and officials said a ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned sometime next year.