Zoo Plans to Bring Wild Life Back to West Texas - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/8/04

Zoo Plans to Bring Wild Life Back to West Texas

Groundbreaking for Lubbock's very own zoo is just a few months away. Researchers with the Lubbock Lake Landmark and Texas Tech are completing their archaeological dig at the proposed site. Meanwhile, the Lubbock Zoo Corporation is making plans to bring a view of wild life to West Texas. NewsChannel 11 uncovers what this $35 million project has in store for the people of Lubbock.

"We're really trying to focus on animals that aren't native to this area in our first phase," explains Kai Hill, Vice President of the Lubbock Zoo Corporation. This part of west Texas will soon be the home of an eclectic group of animals, part of the Lubbock Zoo.

The first phase of completion will include an interactive zoo where visitors can experience a hands-on approach to learning about wildlife. "We'll have Bengal tigers, crocodile, we'll have a safari area with a zebra, butterfly gardens," explains Hill. The creatures acquired from zoos around the country. When it's complete, Kai says the Lubbock Zoo will have potential to be compared to the one in Amarillo that houses more than 150 animals and located adjacent to an amusement park

70 acres of land that will be transformed into Lubbock's first high scale zoo, it's located just SouthEast of Joyland and right across from the American Wind Power Center. The natural terrain and accessibility of the land makes it an ideal location with history of animal life from 6,000 to 8,000 years ago. "The archeologists were checking for sensitive areas where we might place buildings and exhibits and so in that they found a bison bone," explains Hill. A rare find that is just part of the research archeologists will be busy studying for the next four months. Once the research is complete, construction is set to begin by January.

In the meantime, the Zoo Corporation is in the final stages of acquiring a contract from the city to lease the land. In essence, the city will still own the land but the non-profit corporation will be responsible for maintaining, updating and adding new attractions to the zoo. The zoo is scheduled to be open by early next year.

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