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Abilene Zoo prepares to launch its largest investment project

In a decade, the Big Country will be able to enjoy new habitats, amenities and attractions at the Abilene Zoo.

ABILENE, Texas — The Abilene Zoo is preparing for one of its biggest projects to date, a 10-year master plan that includes an expansion and much more. 

“This master plan will bring economic growth, jobs, increased habitat size, new attractions and new experiences to the big country,” Abilene Zoo Conservation Supervisor, Clay Carabajal, said. 

The master plan includes four phases. The first phase will feature a full-service restaurant, a new African lion habitat, a redesign of the existing rhino habitat and a new family of meerkats.

“This zoo is only 16 acres, our new plan will develop into the undeveloped 22 acres of zoo has had for 50-plus years and allow us to double in size, welcoming more guests each and every year,” Carabajal said. 

Phases two through four include a special event stage, boardwalk, playscapes, full-sized train and a new addition of animals at the zoo. 

“So the master plan is broken down into four separate phases allowing us to shift animals around the zoo to accomplish construction goals but also to fundraise in different tears. This will all be through fundraising and donations,” Carabajal said.

He said the planning for the project began towards the end of summer 2021. Carbajal said it was difficult narrowing down the list of things to include in the master plan. 

“We looked at things that would impact the community greatly, things that our guests have been asking for, for years. New resources they needed at the zoo and it was tough, we had to whittle down things little by little.. This is what we need, this is what we don't need,” Carabajal said. 

The Abilene Zoo has not yet announced how much the total project will cost. Carabajal said they will break ground as soon as they have most of the funds to cover the costs for the project. 


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