Fort Worth Zoo Celebrates Grand Opening of Elephant Springs
Big things happen at the Fort Worth Zoo.
On Thursday, the Fort Worth Zoo unveiled Elephant Springs, the second of four phases in its $ 100 million capital campaign.
Michael Fouraker, executive director of the zoo, introduced the latest exhibit, followed by Ramona Bass, chair of the board of directors of the Fort Worth Zoological Association.
“I’m very excited to show you all of this,” says Bass. “It’s a very different exhibition than anything we’ve ever had. Now you can really interact with [the elephants]and they can interact with you. “
Four elephants – three women and one man – appeared on opening day as their zookeepers led them into the new multi-yard habitat, which featured a variety of interactive water elements, including a 400,000-gallon river, numerous waterfalls, and a water tower.
The designers worked closely with the elephant keepers to create a natural, immersive experience not only for the animals but also for the guests. Many of the different elements that can be seen around the habitat in the floating village have been hand-painted by staff at the zoo in collaboration with local artists, including Kristen Soble.
Bass was instrumental in designing the property throughout the project, making suggestions for the little things, including any stains from the wood stain to the colors of the railings. “That’s my favorite part of the job,” she says. “I love designing these exhibits.”
What the public can’t see behind the scenes is a brand new barn with sandy floors and independent stalls for each elephant, prep kitchen, pantry and hayloft, indoor and outdoor exercise facilities, and a state-of-the-art water filtration system for filtering and recycling of the water, which is an important source of enjoyment for the animals.
“Fort Worth Zoo is known around the world as a leader in elephant and rhinoceros conservation, and our new facility will ensure our efforts continue into the future,” said Fouraker.
The multi-million dollar A Wilder Vision campaign was launched in 2016 to ensure the survival of many endangered species. The construction work for the final phases is already underway. African and Asian predator hunters, as well as forests and jungles, are expected to open in spring 2023 and 2025, respectively.
“We are excited about these amazing new habitats, and I have to thank the people of Fort Worth who have continued to be so generous in helping the zoo,” said Bass. “Without them, none of this would be possible.”
Read more about Fort Worth Zoo’s efforts to protect elephants here.