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Minister for Climate Change and the Environment, Frank Sartor, today officially opened Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s new Visitor Plaza - the single largest project in the Zoo’s 33 year history.

The redevelopment of the Visitor Plaza at the region’s largest tourist attraction will be a major drawcard for tourists to the Orana region as well as residents from the local Dubbo community.

Mr Sartor said it was a unique public space that will offer visitors the opportunity to experience part of the Zoo for free.

“The redevelopment has revitalised the 30 year old building and now sets the scene for the exploration of the Zoo and its wildlife,” Mr Sartor said.

“It showcases the Zoo’s role in community education and Australian and International conservation.

“The NSW Government and Taronga Conservation Society Australia have funded this $5.5 million project, which sees the services at the Zoo streamlined along with a new free access area for visitors.

“The redevelopment has included a number of environmental aspects including the use of natural light and ventilation to save on energy and the drainage of all stormwater from the area going into the Savannah Lake.

“Over 10, 000 plants - most of which are native to inland NSW - have also been planted in this area.”

The redevelopment has been beneficial to Dubbo’s local community with up to 110 workers across 22 trades being employed throughout the various stages of construction.

The majority of these contractors were local.

The new Visitor Plaza features an extension on the old building to allow for all services to be located in the one area including information, ticketing, the Zoo Shop and Bakhita’s Café.

The modernised building and upgraded surrounding area is a unique addition to the Zoo, assisting in creating positive connections between wildlife and people.

The Savannah Function Centre has also been refurbished with upgraded lighting and audio visual equipment as well as significant changes to the entrance and landscaped grounds surrounding the building.

Children can discover and learn about animals and conservation at the award-winning Children’s Playground, which is a highlight of this area, especially for families.

The new free access area will also feature a mobile home service point that will provide travellers with an added convenience when visiting the Zoo.

The new free access area and Visitor Plaza is open every day from 9am – 4pm.

For more information about the Zoo visit www.taronga.org.au or call 6881 1400.

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