The Akron Zoo is set to open two new areas in the next two years. Pride of Africa is scheduled to open in summer of 2019 and Wild Asia will open in summer 2020.
Pride of Africa will include a new, expanded habitat for a pride of African lions, Speke’s gazelles, white storks and a new feeding area for goats. Pride of Africa will immerse guests in the culture of the Maasai living in the Southern Rift Valley of Kenya and the wildlife who share their land. Predators, prey, a special Maasai livestock enclosure called a boma, an expanded train ride and a spray pad will offer a rich learning experience for children and adults alike.
In Wild Asia, a new spacious Sumatran tiger habitat will allow for a pair of tigers. The red pandas will also have a larger habitat that will be home to a duo of red pandas. Due to popular demand, Wild Asia will also welcome a pair of white-cheeked gibbons.
In Pride of Africa and Wild Asia, the zoo expects many species will have breeding recommendations from the Species Survival Plan (SSP) from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The SSP is a scientifically-managed breeding program that works to ensure a healthy, genetically diverse population of critically endangered species.
“With the opening of Pride of Africa and Wild Asia, your Akron Zoo has come full circle,” said Doug Piekarz, president and CEO at the Akron Zoo. “With these two projects comes the renovation of Tiger Valley – the oldest area currently at the Akron Zoo, which opened in 1998. Combined, these two wildlife experiences will be the largest expansion to date. We’re thrilled to offer our guests an opportunity to connect with and learn about new species, as well as current animals in new habitats.”
Together, Pride of Africa and Wild Asia are a combined $17 million project. Thanks to the Akron Zoo’s Summit County levy support, $11 million is committed. The zoo is also raising funds through their ROAR campaign, a comprehensive campaign with contributions from individual donors, corporate partners and private foundations.
The Akron Zoo is approaching $3 million of the $6 million fundraising goal, thanks to support from lead donors, the Lehner Family Foundation and Robert. O. & Annamae Orr Family Foundation and many others. The zoo has also received a $500,000 appropriation from the State of Ohio. For more extensive details on both areas, including renderings, visit akronzoo.org/Akron-Zoo-Expansion.