Roo Valley – Expected to open in 2020:

Wildlife Canyon will be transformed to include a two-level adventure course with 60 activities, 25 feet high in the treetops, with options for all skill levels and abilities. Beneath the trees, guests will share space with kangaroos in a 15,000- square foot kangaroo walkabout. Little blue penguins will also get a new home complete with underwater viewing. Guests can relax and enjoy the view of Roo Valley from a new, multi-tiered Beer Garden, Hops, behind the Watering Hole.

Hops – Opens fall of 2019:

Hops, a new multi-tiered seating area will be added behind the Watering Hole food and beer station where guests can relax and enjoy the view of Roo Valley.

Entry Village – Now Open:

Ten new ticket windows and additional queuing space streamline entry into the Zoo. Amenities such as more family-style restrooms and more storage space for strollers and wheelchairs, as well as a calming room for guests with developmental disabilities, will improve visitors’ experience.

Safe and Efficient Visitor Access – Expected to open in 2023:

The Zoo is the #1 attraction in Hamilton County, creating a significant economic and cultural benefit to the families in the region. Attendance growth is directly connected to the Zoo’s ability to provide access into the Zoo. An 1,800-car parking garage, featuring a new pedestrian bridge over the street and into the Zoo, will offer safe visitor access and alleviate parking and traffic issues for neighboring businesses and residents.

Rhino Reserve – Expected to open in 2023:

To provide more home to roam for black rhino breeding pairs and their offspring, the Rhino Reserve will be redesigned to include multiple outdoor yards. This critically endangered species is solitary except when breeding or rearing young, so “alone time” space is crucial for them to thrive. Plans for this area also include a larger, mixed species yard, expanded moats and visitor viewing decks.

Elephant Trek – Expected to open in 2025:

Removing cars from Zoo grounds will allow the Zoo to give elephants more trunk space. Their new, next generation habitat will be nearly five times the size of their current yards and will feature naturalistic trees, mud wallows, grasses, pools and streams. Kids will also enjoy a nature-based play area with water elements. From the day it opened, the Cincinnati Zoo has led the way in the care and management of Asian elephants. The effort to build a better home for them demonstrates its continued commitment to care for this magnificent species.

Kids will also enjoy a nature-based play area with water elements.  From the day it opened, the Cincinnati Zoo has led the way in the care and management of Asian elephants. The effort to build a better home for them demonstrates its continued commitment to care for this magnificent species.

Polar bear swimming front viewExisting Habitat Improvements:

As science and research gives us a better understanding on how to care for and help breed polar bears, the Zoo will need to make modifications to its current Kroger Lords of the Arctic habitat.  This includes creating an environment conducive to breeding, providing isolated denning opportunities for female polar bears, separate habitat areas for male and female bears and natural substrates.  The current sea lion habitat will also get a makeover creating more shade, easier access to the main pool from the back area and water filtration upgrades.

A Commitment to Net Zero Energy, Water and Waste:

As part of this ambitious capital campaign, the Zoo is taking their groundbreaking, robust storm water management program to the next level to drive down non-potable water use to zero.  By capturing 100% of the storm water and reusing it in the habitats, the Zoo can divert the water out of the city’s combined sewer system.  The Zoo will also focus on being net zero energy by driving efficiencies throughout the existing systems and pursuing advanced energy options including solar, wind and biomass.  And, with proper organic waste management, the Zoo will strive to become a net zero waste facility.

Better Homes for Them! Better Zoo for You!

The Zoo’s master plan will be completed in phases and includes:

  • A shared space where visitors can interact with kangaroos in a 15,000-square-foot kangaroo walkabout!
  • A new home for little blue penguins with underwater viewing for guests
  • An adventure ropes course with options for all skill levels and abilities
  • A parking garage and an additional entry for better visitor access into our Zoo
  • More Home to Roam for black rhinos and polar bears
  • A new, nature-based play area

As a center of excellence in its field, the Cincinnati Zoo is:

  • A leader in both formal and informal science education.
  • It’s an irreplaceable educational asset with over 450,000 people participating every year in education programs such as field trips, camps, overnights and outreach programs.
  • The Zoo is also home to the country’s first full-time, college preparatory zoological high school.
  • Internationally known for its success in the protection and propagation of endangered plants and animals, and engages in more than 30 research and conservation projects worldwide.
  • A community connector partnering with dozens of diverse and economically challenged communities, providing a welcoming venue to people from all walks of life.
  • Known as the Greenest Zoo in America. The Zoo is doing its part to conserve natural resources that are critical to saving wildlife and habitats and is committed to greening its daily operations and reducing its impact on the environment through the use of rain gardens, recycled building materials, solar panels and more.

A Commitment to Outstanding Animal Care

We will transform the Zoo’s physical landscape by renewing facilities, habitats and gardens so that the Zoo setting matches our growing expertise in animal care, education, conservation and horticulture. We strive to lead in the ever-progressing world of zoos and aquariums, learning from the latest in evidence-based understanding of how animals behave, and implementing changes to promote animal excellence. We’ll advance behavior-based husbandry, increase complexity of habitats, and introduce pioneering animal health techniques and reproductive strategies in the pursuit of outstanding animal care.

Latest Plans for Future Elephant Habitat

World-renowned elephant expert Gerry Creighton has been sharing best practices for creating a complex habitat for a multi-generational herd, with Cincinnati Zoo staff.

Click here to go on a virtual walk-through of the Elephant Trek!

The Zoo has brought Creighton to Cincinnati to speak to animal staff, board members, habitat designers and potential donors about successes and lessons learned during the process of shifting their approach to elephant management.

The Elephant Trek habitat will include natural elements like trees, mud wallows, grasses, pools, streams, and, best of all, plenty of room for these magnificent mammals to explore. People have been considered in the plans too.  Zoo visitors will enjoy watching the elephant herd roam their 4-acre habitat from a shaded gazebo or while having a snack on the patio of a new café.