Zoo capital campaign takes big step

Roosevelt Park Zoo’s $5 million, three phase capital improvement campaign received a big boost last week when Minot Park District committed $1 million to the Roosevelt Park Zoo Centennial Capital Campaign, bringing the funds raised to nearly $3.1 million and beyond the halfway point of the $5 million goal.

Park commissioners representing the Minot Park District voted unanimously at their December meeting to make the million dollar commitment to the zoo’s capital campaign. The zoo will break ground in spring 2018 for new habitat for Amur tigers near the Visitors Center and for new habitat for African lions on the east loop of the zoo where other African species are located. The new habitats for the tigers and lions will be constructed simultaneously. The first two phases will be followed by the third phase: the renovation of the existing large cat habitat into a space that encourages climbing for the Amur leopards and snow leopards.

The project is estimated to be completed by the zoo’s centennial year in 2021. This is the zoo’s first large-scale capital campaign.

Minot’s zoo is one of the city’s true gems – a tremendous facility one would expect to find in a considerably larger community. More than 90,000 people visit the zoo annually, including some 10,000 students. It’s exhibits offer strong appeal to adults and children and the setting itself is one of the most pleasant atmospheres in our region.

An expanded zoo will bring additional attention to the terrific institution, will enhance our visitor population and thus be a boon to the economy. That’s in addition to the thrills that the new big cat environment will bring to kids and enthusiasts.

A hearty thanks is due the Park Board and to all others who support this campaign to buoy one of Minot’s true landmarks!