Jacksonville Zoo groundbreaking ceremony for Manatee River

Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:
jacksonville zoo
Photo by Jakub Pabis on Pexels.com

The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens held a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday for a new exhibit featuring one of Florida’s most beloved and well-known animals.

According to the Jacksonville Zoo, the groundbreaking is for a new Manatee River habitat, which will also be one of a mere handful of federally permitted acute care facilities for manatees in Florida.

The Jacksonville Zoo can treat six injured, sick or orphaned manatees at a time.

The new habitat will act as an expansion of the Manatee Critical Care Center. By offering four new treatment pools and three habitats, the new habitat will essentially triple the zoo’s rehabilitation efforts with the added 330,000 gallons of space.

Following the groundbreaking, the zoo announced an updated fundraising goal due to the increased cost of supplies for construction. The goal expanded from $52 million to $70 million.

The Jacksonville Zoo has raised 66% of the $70 million thanks to individual donors, corporations, a $5 million match per year, for five years, by the City of Jacksonville and the gifts from the Weavers and VyStar Credit Union.

Another aspect of the groundbreaking was the new 50-foot-high zoo VyStar Credit Union SkyScape zoo entrance. Some of the new amenities available with the new entrance will be a VIP lounge, full-service catering kitchen and retail.

The Jacksonville Zoo is embarking on the largest capital campaign in the zoo’s nearly 110-year history called REZOOVENATION.

Click here to learn more about the Jacksonville Zoo and REZOOVENATION.

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