Photo: EP Zoo
During their regular city council meeting on Tuesday, El Paso City Council approved two donations totaling nearly $900,000 for the El Paso Zoological Society.
The first donation, part of a two million dollar gift from Paul Foster, will be used to purchase a Point of Sale (POS) system for the Zoo. This system will allow guests to purchase admission tickets online, RSVP for Zoo events, and reserve spots at scheduled zoo events.
“This system will make a big difference for Zoo guests,” said Executive Director of the El Paso Zoological Society Renee Neuert. “It will be a great way for families to be able to plan ahead and skip the lines!”
The second donation, $800,000 from the Hunt Family Foundation, will be used to purchase a 36-foot carousel and shade structure. The carousel will feature a wide variety of endangered species, including: lions, tigers, elephants, zebras, giraffes, gorillas, red pandas, sea otters, and even a triceratops. The carousel will also feature a bird’s nest spinning tub and a wheelchair-accessible swan chariot.
The endangered species carousel, built by Chance Rides, will be located inside the new Asia entrance, a project funded by the 2012 Quality of Life bonds. The entrance will feature a Southeast Asia Gateway, themed landscaping and lighting, and a shaded seating area around the carousel.
Construction is scheduled to begin in 2017.
“The new carousel is an important part of our 10-year master plan and will be a wonderful addition to our Zoo,” said Director of the El Paso Zoo Steve Marshall. “We greatly appreciate the support of the El Paso Zoological Society and the generous donors.”
With the approval from City Council, the El Paso Zoological Society will now move forward with both projects, purchasing the POS system and putting a deposit on the carousel in early December.
“We are very thankful for the generous support of community leaders like Paul Foster and the Hunt Family who believe that building a great Zoo is building economic development for our City,” said Neuert. “This is a wonderful opportunity for the Zoological Society to once again support our El Paso Zoo.”