Greenville Zoo offering commemorative bricks for new Lions' Den Courtyard

Greenville Zoo sign (File)

Major improvements are coming to the Greenville Zoo and at Monday night’s city council meeting, the City of Greenville will move forward with plans to kick in $3 million in financial support for the renovation.

The Greenville Zoo Foundation’s $65 million master plan includes three major projects, a new entrance, a new lions' den and the renovation of the zoo’s veterinary hospital.

“We need to make sure we continue to develop what we’ve got here,” said Greenville Zoo Director, Jeff Bullock. “We’ve got a lot of older exhibits, most of the zoo 1985 so it’s really a change in social attitude towards zoos and wanting to do better for our animals.”

Bullock says the new entryway will include a café, a restroom complex, administrative offices and the gift shop.

“The community will be able to come shop in there if they want,” says Bullock. “It’s not just part of the zoo, it’s an extension of Cleveland Park.”

The current vulture exhibit will move across the sidewalk to make way for an improved lions’ den. Bullock says, “The new lions’ den will provide three bedrooms for the lions as well as a family room. It will give us the opportunity to participate in the breeding programs we haven’t been able to just because we don’t have the space to manage them properly.”

Finally the veterinary hospital renovation isn’t just about fixing up an outdated building. Bullock says it’s crucial for maintaining the zoo’s accreditation.

“The clinic is the same as its been for years and with this new project we’ll add a dedicated surgical suite, a dedicated necropsy room, lab spaces, pharmacy spaces," he said. "Really, these are just things that are not only recommended but required as an accredited zoo.”

Bullock says the city council’s appropriation will allow the Greenville Zoo Foundation to move forward with more detailed renderings and construction documents, which should be ready by January. The foundation will be able to start bidding proposals in early January and the work should begin this winter.

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