Thursday will be a big day at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. Their new Asian Highlands exhibit will open to the public. Zoo Director Dennis Pate says this is something that visitors have never seen before. They did a lot of research to get everything just right.
Pate says, “The architecture is more or less stacked stone. You will see remnants of stacked stone and fully developed walls. In the case of the red panda it is a whole front that looks like perhaps it was an animal barn in Nepal or Bhutan you might see. There was a lot of photo referencing in order to place this project in an area of the world.”
The exhibit will be home to tigers, rhinos, snow leopards, sloth bears and more. Pate says they also will display rare Pere David’s deer that are fitting in quite well in their new surroundings.
This is a one of a kind experience. Pate says, “I don’t know if anybody would have done a complete a Himalayan exhibit as we have done here in the U.S. I think some other zoos will be visiting us because they have got similar things in mind but we’ll have a big head start on all of them.
This is phase one of the project. Phase two will open next year. The cost of the exhibit totals more than $20 million.