The Waterhole

April 2017

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What’s New


We’re seeing ripples where there will soon be waves! The Zoo’s Making Waves capital campaign is swimming right along. So far, you’ve likely heard this upcoming state-of-the-art exhibit will house our two Nile hippos, Zambezi and Kasai, as well as a new flock of African penguins. We’re also excited to announce this exhibit area will feature tortoises, lemurs, hoofstock, saddle-billed storks and other bird species, a suspension bridge and a nature-themed play area.

Upon entering the area, guests will experience an open concept penguin exhibit featuring free-roaming penguins. Similar to the free-roaming wallabies in our existing Australia Walkabout exhibit, the penguins will have the choice to interact with guests. They will also have access to an indoor and outdoor pool where guests can see them dive, swim and play via an underwater viewing area. A sandy beach will call to mind their native South Africa. In addition, there will be a behind-the-scenes nesting area, tailor-made for the ability to care for eggs and the possibility of chicks in the future. The space will be designed to house a maximum of 24 penguins, though our initial flock will number at 18. We are very hopeful their dynamic new exhibit will inspire successful breeding opportunities.

The multi-faceted hippo exhibit will feature a sizeable indoor and outdoor pool area, so guests can view the antics of hippos Zambezi and Kasai throughout multiple vantage points. Both hippos are currently vacationing at Dickerson Park Zoo in Missouri until their new exhibit is ready. And not only will they be getting a brand new exhibit; they’ll also likely be getting new friends to share it with! The hippo exhibit will be designed with space to hold up to five hippos, and we also plan to have a male hippo in the mix for future breeding opportunities.
Both the penguin and hippos pools will sport cascading water features, so watch out for the splash zone! Beyond the pool area will be 12,000-square feet of grass area specifically for grazing. We’re sure the hippos will also find this area to be full of prime spots for mud wallows, as well.

Not only will the exhibit be chockfull of amazing animals, sights and sounds; it will also be more sustainable. The new and improved filtration system will allow for both exhibits to utilize less water during the daily backwash cycle, thus using much less water in general.

Play areas include the above-mentioned nature play area, which will be accessed by a kid-approved suspension bridge. There will be two demonstration areas where guests will be able to see and enjoy keeper chats and participate in hippo enrichment, as well as a hippo/human scale, where guests can see how they weigh in compared to a Nile hippo!

We’re excited to say that due to your generosity and support; we have already reached $9.4 million of our $10.4 million goal! We are hopeful the Colorado Springs community will come together and help us reach that final goal by the end of the year.

“We absolutely need the community’s help to finish this campaign,” Vice President of Philanthropy and Marketing Tracey Gazibara said. “Gifts of any size are greatly appreciated.”

If you’re interested in learning more about the exhibit or how to donate, please visit the following link:

To make a donation, please call Vice President of Philanthropy & Marketing Tracey Gazibara at 719-424-7853, or email at: [email protected].
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