Elmwood Park Zoo Prepares to Welcome the General Public to the Frank & Paige Engro Veterinary Health Center and new Welcome Center On June 27, 2024

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NORRISTOWN, PA: Elmwood Park Zoo’s new Welcome Center and industry-leading Frank & Paige Engro Veterinary Health Center is fully complete and will open to the general public on June 27, 2024. This multi-million dollar state-of-the-art facility will allow the Zoo to provide care to current and future animal species while offering guests an unprecedented look inside the daily operations of the Zoo’s veterinary team.

“Elmwood Park Zoo’s mission truly comes to life once you step inside our new Welcome Center,” said Al Zone, Executive Director and CEO, Elmwood Park Zoo. “Every element of our new facility touches on three themes – Care, Conservation, and Connection – and those themes are further highlighted through interactive displays and reactive lighting. The new exhibits and access to portions of the Health Center aim to educate guests about the important role zoos play in protecting and caring for wildlife.”

The 39,000 square foot facility features an outdoor entrance plaza with a water fountain, ticket windows, animal exhibits, interactive kiosks, viewing bays that look into the Frank & Paige Engro Health Center’s Treatment Room and Animal Commissary, a coffee shop, and a 4,000 square foot gift shop.

The new visitor experience begins with elements that evoke the Zoo’s natural surroundings, like the pathways that mimic the flow of Stony Creek. Signs and displays speak to the 100-year history of the Zoo and the progress that has been made to make it one of the premier cultural institutions in Pennsylvania.  A custom built “tree house” will serve as a unique meeting spot, rest area, and scenic vantage point for the entire Welcome Center. A new water fountain at the center of the plaza features sculptures of white-tailed deer and a stalking jaguar, created by artist Zenos Frudakis, that represent the Zoo’s founding, its present and its future.

Once inside the new Welcome Center, guests will encounter a series of digital touch screens that are featured throughout the space. They host quizzes and games that will not only entertain guests, but will also provide them with a better understanding of how the Zoo cares for its animals, and how it is part of a larger network that exists to support conservation efforts around the globe. The Welcome Center will also be home to several animal exhibits featuring native Pennsylvania turtles, golden lion tamarins, and black-footed ferrets.

Additionally, guests will enjoy a brand new coffee shop, the Buck Cafe, which features various coffees, teas, sandwiches, and snacks. They will also have access to large family bathrooms, a family quiet room, a nursing station, and a newly expanded gift shop.

The highlight of the experience is a peek inside the Frank & Paige Engro Veterinary Health Center, named in honor of the Engros, whose $30 million donation in 2022 jump-started the development of the entire facility. The Health Center features a surgical suite, diagnostic lab, indoor/outdoor recovery wards, and an in-house pharmacy, all outfitted with the latest tools and cutting edge equipment.

Viewing windows will allow guests to watch Veterinary staff conduct exams and procedures, providing insight into the dedicated care the Zoo’s animals receive each day. Guests can periodically take part in the proceedings by texting questions to the team who may answer them as the procedures take place. A viewing window into the Animal Commissary will also give guests the unique opportunity to watch diets being prepared for all of the animals at the Zoo.

On June 27, the Welcome Center/Frank & Paige Engro Veterinary Health Center will open to the general public for the first time, beginning at 10 AM; media are invited to cover the opening.

For more information on the new Welcome Center and Frank & Paige Engro Veterinary Health Center, visit https://www.elmwoodparkzoo.org/welcome-center/.

ABOUT ELMWOOD PARK ZOO: Elmwood Park Zoo was established in 1924 when a local farmer transferred 16 acres and a small menagerie to the Borough of Norristown. Today, the Zoo is owned and operated by the Norristown Zoological Society, a non-profit organization whose mission is to foster an appreciation for wildlife and the environment that will inspire active participation in conservation. Under the Society’s careful management, Elmwood Park Zoo has attained the elite status as one of only 230 institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.  The Zoo’s accreditation was renewed in September, 2022.

Elmwood Park Zoo currently maintains a collection of over 100 species that hail from all over the globe. Highlights of the collection include giraffes, zebras, bald and golden eagles, jaguars, and red pandas. A number of species in the collection are managed pursuant to an international SSP (Species Survival Plan) These programs aim to maintain and increase the size of animal populations that are under the largest threat of extinction. Other species in the collection represent significant wildlife conservation success stories, such as the American bison, peregrine falcon, bald eagle, and American alligator. About two-thirds of the animal collection is on exhibit; many others are maintained separately for use in education programs.

Elmwood Park Zoo is located at 1661 Harding Blvd. in Norristown, PA, conveniently situated near all major highways in the area, and major tourist attractions including the Valley Forge National Historical Park and the King of Prussia Shopping Mall.

Information provided to TVL by:
Bryan Buttler