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Zoo Breaks Ground on Exhibit Expansion

Tue, 11/11/2014

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – November 11, 2014 – Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch joined Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo board members, Zoo staff and supporters for a groundbreaking event of the Zoo’s Pampas Plains exhibit last week. Featuring animals from the Pampas region of Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil, the new exhibit is considered phase one of the Zoo’s South American Adventure exhibit. It is part of the Zoo’s Master Plan to exhibit South American species and is funded in part by private donations as well as funding from the Connecticut Zoological Society with support from the City of Bridgeport. 

“We couldn’t be happier to break ground on this expansion but what’s most exciting is that we will be one of only a handful of zoos in the United States to exhibit Vicuña, the smallest South American relative of the camel and llama,” explained Gregg Dancho, zoo director. “Vicuña have not been on exhibit in the United States in 20 years. Likewise, we have not had Giant anteaters at our Zoo in over 30 years. This is an incredible opportunity for our visitors to see these graceful animals up close and personal.” 

In addition to Vicuña and Giant anteaters, the new Pampas Plains South American exhibit will feature Chacoan peccaries and Greater rhea, as well as plants and grasses native to this South American region. A raised walkway is planned, which will offer panoramic views as well as a glimpse into the animals’ distinctive habitats. Guests will discover Giant anteaters foraging in termite mounds and will learn how different feeding adaptations, like the anteater’s long snout and tongue, help animals to thrive in varied environments. Throughout the exhibit artifact nooks and discovery boxes will create new opportunities for visitors to immerse themselves in this wild experience. 

“We’re so proud to be home to Connecticut’s only zoo,” said Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch. “I’ve spent many an afternoon there with my sons and seen so many kids’ in awe at all the animals and exhibits. And there always is a staff member ready to tell you anything you want to know about every one of them. Mostly I am excited that the zoo is growing and getting better every day, just like the city as a whole. Beardsley Zoo – like the Barnum Museum, Pleasure Beach, the Sound Tigers and the Bluefish – is such an important asset that improves the quality of life for all our kids, and makes the Park City a place where more families will want to raise their kids, too.” 

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is closer than you think and open daily from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Adult admission (ages 12 & older) is $14.00, children (ages 3 -11) and senior admission (62 and older) is just $10.00, and children under 3 years old are free. Zoo members also are admitted free. Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is located at 1875 Noble Avenue, Bridgeport, Connecticut and parking at the zoo is free of charge.