Zoo begins construction on new $10.5m penguin exhibit. I admit the idea of a South African fishing village in the middle of Druid Hill Park sounds cool (no mention of whether it will have SA themed shops\restaurants), but the location of this attraction – dead center of the zoo across from the “Village Green” – of it seems a bit off.
This is particularly true since it involves not only moving the tram stop but relocating the entrances to both “African Journeys” and “Polar Bear Watch,” not to mention the affect this brand new themed village will have on their existing “village” (sort of like walking from the highly detailed “Harambe” onto a whitewashed version of “Discovery Island” at Animal Kingdom).
I agree that more penguin research and repatriation is essential to the survival of the species and their overall happiness and comfort within the zoo environment, but $10.5 million for a new exhibit strikes me as a tad excessive (do they really need “periodic” waterfalls, water spouts and a potemkin “fishing village”?).
I’m not saying they shouldn’t put something in that green space next to “African Journeys” just something smaller and more complimentary to the zoo’s existing scale (for instance, the current artic fox cage is literally the size of a dog crate, just sayin’), but to me it seems like their current plan would be a better fit for the upper portion of Buffalo Yard Road (the rarely used walkway they have temporarily rerouted the tram onto due to construction) near the entrance to “Maryland Wilderness” and across the service road from “Polar Bear Watch.”
In fact, it gives visitors a reason to take said pathway past the zoo’s original enclosures (archaeology, history and zoology all in one tiny fenced-off area) rather than cramming onto the overcrowded trams like they do now. I know from my trip to Williamsburg that kids are interested in archaeology, even if their parents weren’t always prepared to explain the details to their inquisitive wards.
Of course, it’s too late to question planning decisions already in construction, yet too early to review something that nobody has seen yet. On the plus side, it leaves room for more useless commentary as new details come to light…