A public fundraising effort will soon begin for the new African Grasslands at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo. Officials said Friday that the $70 million project is the largest in the zoo's history, spanning 28 acres.
African Grasslands will be an outdoor habitat featuring panoramic views and vistas of grasslands teeming with African wildlife. Extensive use of grasses, acacia-like trees, rock kopjes (granite boulders set in the open savanna) and minimal barriers will allow unobstructed views of elephants, giraffes, white rhinos, cheetahs, impalas and zebras.
Construction on the first phase is expected to begin this summer and be completed and opened by the summer of 2016.
The second phase is expected to be finished in 2017. It will showcase the top predators of Africa and their prey. African wild dogs and sable antelope will be near a pride of lions that will sit atop a hill on tall, rocky outcroppings giving them a top down view of Skyfari riders. A nearby safari tent camp will offer an overnight opportunity for school groups and families.
Zoo officials said $30 million is still needed from the public, so the Raise Wild campaign will begin next month. Click here for more information.