The Minnesota Zoo, which wants to add a penguin exhibit and make other improvements at the Apple Valley facility, is asking state legislators for $33 million.
Zoo Director Lee Ehmke told a House meeting Wednesday that a record 1.36 million people visited the zoo in fiscal year 2009, thanks to the opening of the Russia’s Grizzly Coast exhibit and renovated Central Plaza, reports House Public Information Services.
The new request for state bonding money — included in a bill sponsored by Rep. Phil Sterner (DFL-Rosemount) — would provide $18 million for development of the zoo’s master plan and $15 million for capital asset preservation. The governor’s bonding proposal released last week contains $15 million for the master plan and $3 million for asset preservation.
The zoo is looking at a three-phase plan, with the first part including a remake of the south entrance, an updated education area and the penguin exhibit.