Danny Cox and baby Jorja with aunt Robyn Jarvis
Danny Cox and baby Jorja with aunt Robyn Jarvis

Zoo uncages new facelift

By FRAZER PEARCE ? THE Rockhampton Zoo, already attracting an estimated 200,000 visitors a year, is primed for an exciting $3 million upgrade in a massive boost to its tourism potential.

Elevated walkways through wildlife habitats, underwater viewing areas for crocodiles, an observation tower and a children's zoo are among plans for the proposed 10-year project.

Rockhampton City Council's parks and gardens director Tom Wyatt unveiled the zoo concept yesterday, saying a nominal entry fee was being proposed to help pay for the redevel- opment.

However he stressed Rockhampton ratepayers "would be looked after''.

Considered plans include a voucher system where ratepayers would receive six family passes a year with visitors paying a $2 entry fee.

Zoo co-ordinator Simon Walton said the intention was to develop a modern "boutique zoo'' with a focus on display excellence on 10 to 12 primary exhibits.

He said it would be in line with the city-owned zoo's "ethos'' of endangered animal conservation.

Brisbane visitor Stacey Rowlatt said yester- day she would not hesitate to pay $2 to see the zoo considering the redevelopment plans.

"If they are going to do all that I think $2 a person is really reasonable,'' she said.

Rockhampton's Danny Cox was visiting the zoo for the second time in three weeks and said a $2 fee was fine with him.

The Rockhampton Zoo is currently the only zoo in Australia that does not have an entry fee.

Admission prices for some Australian zoos include Taronga $27, Australia $29, Melbourne $20 and Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary $18.

Sponsorship of individual animals and exhib- its is also being investigated as a means of fast tracking the development.



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