Posted on 01st November 2019 by Media Relations
Construction of Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s new precinct, The Waterhole, is progressing well and now over the halfway point of the project.
The $10.2 million precinct is jointly funded with the NSW Government as part of the Zoo’s 10 year Visitor Experience Plan. This project will redevelop the current kiosk area located at the midway point of the Zoo circuit and ultimately include café, play area and animal exhibits.
A number of key elements have been constructed to date including rammed earth walls, with structural steel aspects and roofing now underway. The precinct’s Meerkat and herd species habitats, including the behind-the-scenes areas, are almost complete. Specialists are installing the water play system.
“The construction site has been a hive of activity for the past six months and guests can now see the café, exhibits and water play area starting to take shape,” said Taronga Western Plains Zoo Director, Steve Hinks.
Member for Dubbo, Dugald Saunders said, “The Waterhole precinct is another exciting redevelopment taking place at the Zoo, following the opening of Lion Pride Lands and Wild Herds over the past two years.”
“The new Waterhole precinct will no doubt add another highlight for guests to the Zoo, and assist in attracting future guests to the Dubbo region when it opens next year,” said Mr Saunders.
The next stage of the project is to transport seven established palm trees to the Zoo from Bracken House in Dubbo, which will be transplanted into the Waterhole site.
“These palms are over 40 years old and have been donated from a future construction site at Bracken House. The trees will continue their life in the Zoo grounds, which is a great result for both Bracken House and the Zoo,” said Steve.
“With the severe drought continuing the decision has been made to reduce landscaping significantly around the new precinct. Whilst over 50 established trees will still be planted, the majority of the smaller shrubs and grasses will be put on hold until conditions improve.”
“The water play area will be a real highlight of the overall Zoo experience and is designed to be a unique play space that kids can cool off in during the warmer months, or play in with no water in the winter months,” said Steve.
The water play area operates on a closed reticulated system that continually retreats the water in order to be efficient with water usage.
Construction of The Waterhole precinct is due to be completed in April 2020.