Buffalo Zoo working hard to renovate zoo

Posted at 12:47 PM, Apr 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-28 15:03:09-04

Over the years, one of the most popular attractions in Western New York has been working hard to build and renovate many of its exhibits.

Since 2002, the Buffalo Zoo has poured millions of dollars in funding into expanding and improving attractions such as the Elephant House, Vet Hospital and Sea Lion Cove for visitors and animals alike. 

The zoo rolled out a three-phase plan back in 2002. According to its website, phase one of the project finished on time. In fact, the phase was so financially efficient, the zoo was able to start and complete some of the projects from phase two sooner. When combined together, both projects cost close to $50 million. Most of the funding came from the Zoological Society.

Between 1996 and 2015, the zoo has received a little over $27 million in funding from Erie County. That's more than any other cultural and arts organization in the county.  Last year, the county gave a total of $1.47 million in taxpayer funding to the zoo. 

The Arctic Edge exhibit opened last year. The project received $3 million in funding from Erie County. It was the largest contribution from any government agency. The city of Buffalo, along with the local state senate delegation, also contributed funds to the project. The exhibit cost a total of $14 million.

The Reptile House is next in line for a facelift. The $2.5 million renovation would give more room to the Komodo Dragons, the largest lizard in the world to roam. 

The Buffalo Zoo is the third oldest zoo in the country. Without the renovations, officials say the zoo would likely have lost its accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.