On Mon., Feb 5, Palo Alto City Council Officials announced that they would contribute seven million dollars toward the reconstruction of the Palo Alto Museum and Zoo. President of the Friends of the Junior Museum and Zoo board of directors, Aletha Coleman, claims that the approval of this project has taken nearly ten years. However, the board is “honored to make the new Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo a reality for future generations of children and their families.”
The City Council unanimously agreed to move forward with the construction and expansion of the local zoo. The council “[approved] the environmental clearance for the park, [passed] a park improvement ordinance, and [approved] 270,124 dollar budget appropriation for a new museum and zoo.” The reconstructed zoo will include a new museum, education building, outdoor enclosure, and parking lots.
The construction will begin this year; planners aim to have the new facility built by the summer of 2019 and officially open in May of 2020. While the zoo is under construction for the next two and a half years, it will be temporarily relocated to The Cubberley Community Center. Mayor Greg Scharff said, “There are few moments in life where you can sit back and say, ‘This is great, the community is moving forward and we should be proud of our community…This is one of them.’”
This project “will be predominantly funded through private donations. The Friends of Junior Museum and Zoo [has] recently completed a 25 million dollar fundraising plan for the project. The Peery Foundation is providing 15 million dollars.”
Once fully completed, this new attraction will “feature new exhibit galleries, classrooms, storage spaces and an outdoor area that will allow visitors to mingle with birds, insects and other zoo critters.” In addition, the grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services “will support a three-year program called “Access from the Ground Up.”” The program will offer 27 new science exhibits for children of all ages. The Palo Alto Museum and Zoo will offer exhibits and programs that are accessible to children with physical and developmental disabilities.
Coleman states: “We feel we’re going to be helping thousands of children in the community with more science education and a new fantastic, wonderful building.”
(Sources: Palo Alto Online, City of Palo Alto)