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.