The Zoological Society of Milwaukee and the Milwaukee County Zoo are teaming up for a 'Window to the Wild' capital campaign to transform the face of the Zoo over the next 25 years.
The campaign is beginning with the construction of 'Adventure Africa.' Adventure Africa will provide new homes for the Zoo's elephants, African hoofstock, hippos and rhinos. This project will transform 25 percent of the developed footprint of the Zoo.
Construction is currently underway for the new elephant and African hoofstock homes. The new exhibit will feature a larger area, semi-heated outdoor area for the elephants in the winter, a large viewing barn for guests to see the elephants year-round and new enrichment items in the outdoor yard to keep the elephants mentally and physically fit.
This exhibit is set to open spring 2019.
After the elephant and African hoofstock exhibit is complete, the Zoo and Zoological Society will work toward creating a new hippo exhibit with underwater viewing as well as a new rhino exhibit.
Adventure Africa will be the largest physical change to the Zoo since 1961.
The Zoological Society aims to raise $25 million to support Adventure Africa. Over $16.7 million has already been raised through donations from community leaders, foundations and local businesses.
And don't be alarmed to see new giraffe statues around the Zoo, as well as in the Waukesha and Milwaukee areas during this transformation process.
These painted giraffes are part of a summer-long public art project called "Beasties Safari." The Zoological Society of Milwaukee started the project to gain awareness of the Window to the Wild Campaign and to raise money for Adventure Africa.
There will be 42 total Beasties with 17 on Zoo grounds, seven in the Waukesha area and 18 in Milwaukee. There will also be an additional 16-foot Beastie outside the Zoo entrance for the duration of the summer.
The Beastie Safari is sponsored by Blue Moon, while each Beastie has its own sponsor.
Each sponsor has the opportunity to purchase their Beastie to benefit Adventure Africa. All Beasties that are not sold will be available for purchase in an online auction beginning Aug. 1.
Guests to the Zoo can also help in raising money for Adventure Africa through the purchase of mini two-inch Beasties at the Zoo gift shop.
Milwaukee artist Dennis Pearson created the Beastie design, and each Beastie sponsor chose a local artist to paint their Beastie.
Beasties will be on display through Sept. 3.