The Philadelphia Zoo has been granted $6 million from the William Penn Foundation.
America's first zoo says it plans to develop a first-in-the-world animal trail system – including big cat crossing, an overhead passageway allowing the Zoo's big cats to travel and explore far from their usual habitats. This is scheduled to open in spring 2014.
"This new trail system and other improvements will redefine what it means to be a ‘world-class' zoo," said Mayor Michael Nutter in a news release. "As the Philadelphia Zoo's national reputation rises, it continues to anchor the historic West Fairmount Park neighborhood and serve the citizens of our city by providing a unique learning experience for youth and adults."
The innovative animal trail initiative offers opportunities for a greater variety in the environments for the zoo's animals – transforming the zoo experience for both animals and guests alike.
The zoo says other initiatives funded by the grant include: Development of a master plan that grows earned revenue capacity to support continued excellence and innovation; creation of a plan to expand, diversity and drive engagement of the Zoo's donor base while also increasing internal capacity to support this growth and transformation; and completion of the fundraising campaign for KidZooU, the Zoo's recently opened $32 million state-of-the-art Hamilton Family Children's Zoo and Faris Family Education Center.
"We are delighted to continue the transformation of Philadelphia Zoo," says Zoo President and CEO Vikram H. Dewan. "This is the most exciting and dynamic time, with as much potential for innovation, accomplishment and impact, as at any time in our recent history. This transformative contribution from the William Penn Foundation supports our vision of offering one-of-kind animal exhibits, strong conservation leadership and outstanding guest experiences making Philadelphia Zoo THE zoo of the future," says Dewan.