Kansas City Zoo has been workly lately to give itself a face-lift. The Zoo, considered by locals to be the "red-headed step kid" to the world-famous St. Louis Zoo (a mere 3 hours' drive away), has seen less and less support in recent decades. To counter this, the Zoo has set about new construction and renovations projects throughout the facilty.
On the heels of the recently re-opened front entry plaza, including streamlined ticketing, parking, and otters as soon as you walk in, the Zoo is currently working on a renovation of its historic 1909 building. This building, which started its life as the sole animal habitat for the Zoo, has been through several iterations, most recently as an education building.
Now, however, construction is reclaiming its primary use, and inside the building a rainforest exhibit is being created. Tropical plants are being flown in from Florida to make as realistic a home as possible for the monkey species, anteaters, tropical birds, and capybara which will call this place home.
The relatively small budget of $5.1 million will allow for nearly 8000 square feet of exhibit space and 5000 square feet of support. The highlight of the exhibit is a glass enclosed bridge through the trees, where guests should be able to view monkeys playing in the branches, up close.
This exhibit is due to open in May, coinciding with the Zoo's Centennial celebration. Other upcoming plans include new homes for polar bears and penguins.