Cameron Park Zoo Penguin Shores and expansion projects fully funded and on track

Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 1:37 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - The Cameron Park Zoo is officially on track to finish the expansion projects, including Penguin Shores, during summer 2024.

The Pandemic, inflation and delays with equipment caused some concerns in terms of funding for the penguin and black-footed cat exhibits as well as the vet hospital and education center.

Now, visitors like Karter and Jerry Vieregge peak through the fence as construction crews work on the foundation mounds of the penguin and black-footed cat habitats.

What they along with other visitors do not see is the continued partnership between the zoo and the City of Waco, county and Zoological Society to make sure they have enough funds to complete the project.

“It means a great deal to the zoo,” Duane Hills, Cameron Park Zoo Deputy Director said. “The community has been very supportive. We are, of course, the city department, city of Waco. The city is supportive as the city department, and so it’s just really great to see so many people rally around a central cause.”

Costs for the expansion went up by around $10 million about a year ago. The initial budget was around $20 million, and now it is over $30 million.

“As far as the inflation, that was some impact,” Hills. “Mainly we’re looking at delays in equipment and so forth.”

The Zoo worked with several entities, especially the City, to get the funds needed in motion. The City recently approved the last of the funds for the project, according to Hills.

“The funding is fully in place and as far as construction timeline, we are on target,” Hills.

Now, the Zoo and visitors can watch and wait for the habitats and expansion projects to be complete as the African Penguins will waddle their way to Waco in the summer of 2024.

“I’m excited because I love penguins,” Jerry said.

The other expansion projects are also expected to be complete like the education center and the vet hospital.