Zoo Boise Briefs City Officials on Some Wild Plans

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The only thing missing was a chorus of "Hakuna Matata."

With images of baboons, cheetahs, crocodiles, monkeys and warthogs staring them down, the Boise City Council was briefed late Tuesday on Zoo Boise's plans for the next decade and beyond.

"We're looking for permission to move forward," said Steve Burns, Zoo Boise director, unveiling a proposed capital plan, construction sequencing and a dramatic change to the zoo's footprint in Julia Davis Park. "We're just like the movies. We have to change if we want to stay relevant."

The plans include a redesign of the front area of the zoo, opening it into more public space, and the creation of a so-called "sprayground," where children can romp through technicolor columns of sprouting water.

But the most ambitious project would be the creation of Gorongosa National Park, a 2-acre site modeled after the iconic preserve in Mozambique, and the inclusion of East African animals, including cheetahs and crocodiles.

"Construction could begin in 2016 and could be completed by 2017," said Burns.

The proposal also includes some new "special" attractions in the works, including animatronic dinosaurs that will visit the zoo this year and a balloonfest to visit the zoo in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Burns said the zoo would also like to introduce another free day on the zoo's calendar and the offering of special scholarships for children and their families who struggle to pay admission fees.

You can read more about the ambitious project in the current issue of Boise Weekly.

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