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Reopens for Spring Season, Saturday, March 16th

CINCINNATI, OH (March 13,2013)The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden reopens its historic Reptile House this Saturday after a two-month interior renovation this winter to restore its original look, but with modifications made to meet the Zoo’s green initiatives. Built in 1875, the Reptile House is the oldest zoo building in the country and one of three buildings at the Cincinnati Zoo listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

“The Cincinnati Zoo takes its role as a historical Cincinnati landmark very seriously and we work hard every day to make sure we’re keeping up with an aging facility,” said Mark Fisher, Senior Director of Facilities and Sustainability at the Cincinnati Zoo. “By reinvesting back into the maintenance of our buildings, we can ensure that iconic structures, like the Reptile House, will be around for generations of Zoo goers for the next century.”

Although the Reptile house has gone through many renovations since first being built, it has remained very similar to its original structure.  The first part of the renovations, completed in the Spring of 2012, replaced the old roof with a new architecturally appropriate and sustainable roof which includes covering, skylights, gutters and downspouts to help with the Zoo’s storm water management.  The exterior walls were cleaned and the cracks were repaired and sealed.  All the damaged doors and windows were repaired and insulated glass along with a weather strip was installed to protect the interior of the building during the winter and summer. 

Visitors will immediately notice the interior renovations upon entering the building. A new coat of paint was applied to all surfaces in the building and the floor was carpeted to give it a fresh look and to help reduce the noise level. In the inner dome, plaster work was repaired and paint was removed from the glass and oculus to expose the original wood.  Several aspects of the electrical system, such as the HVAC, were repaired to help improve the sustainability of the building. The work done on the interior of the building returned the building to its original 1875 design as well as modified it for current times.

 In 2011, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden was one of the recipients of the “Save America’s Treasure Grant” from the National Park Services. The Cincinnati Zoo was the only grant recipient in Ohio and one of only 61 recipients in the country from a total of 338 applications that the National Park Service received.  The Zoo’s Reptile house was granted $408,886 to use in renovating and updating the house. Renovation began in the fall of 2011 and finished with the interior renovation conducted this winter.