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St. Louis Zoo Unveils Updated Expansion Plans

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Zoo showcased new plans for the 13 and a half acre expansion on the southern side of interstate 64.

The plans aren’t set in stone, and the zoo is still asking for public opinion.

But it outlines a framework of where the zoo could go in the next 20 years – adding exhibits, a hotel, an upscale restaurant.

Ed Uhlir is a consultant on the expansion project, and says moving parking and adding a way for visitors to cross the interstate has to be the first move.

“If it’s going to be a gondola, that could start generating some revenue," Uhlir said. "But it just has to be the parking, because the zoo can’t expand with the existing parking structure.”

Bonnie Roy, who is the project manager of the expansion plan, says the current parking lot is about nine acres.

“If that were to be relocated, that opens up the door for additional animal space," Roy said. "Really the idea of additional animal habitat would be the primary use of that parking lot.”

There’s still no price tag for the current plans, but it would most likely require another capital campaign down the road. Zoo officials say a more concrete plan will be revealed in a couple months.

Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter@csmcdaniel