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The Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington has a couple of projects going on this week courtesy of a couple of local companies.

Miller Park Zoo’s Green Aracari (air-a-saree) exhibit in ZooLab is getting a makeover. Superintendent of the zoo, Jay Tetzloff explains, remodeling and restoration company J.J. Swartz will demolish and expand the exhibit in ZooLab that serves as the habitat for the Green Aracari, a bird native to South America.  The new exhibit more than doubles the size of the current Zoo habitat for the toucan-like birds. The project is expected to be completed in early January.

[audio:zooexpansion1.mp3]Tetzloff On The First of Their Two Projects[/audio]

Evelyn Yowell, owner of J.J. Swartz, is a strong supporter of the Zoo, as currently serves as President of the Miller Park Zoological Society.

The Bloomington-Normal Area Home Builders Association will also be taking on a project in ZooLab for 2012, which will be located next to the Meerkat exhibit. This project will include six small exhibits for reptiles and amphibians and one larger area for Mexican Beaded Lizards.  Mexican Beaded Lizards are a venomous lizard that the Zoo is excited about showing their guests. Tetzloff says this will allow them to meet the goal of expanding the variety of animals they display.

[audio:zooexpansion2.mp3]Tetzloff On The Mexican Beaded Lizards New Exhibit[/audio]

The Miller Park Zoo is currently embarking on a master plan to outline future goals for the zoo. Tetzloff explains they felt moving forward with these two projects prior to the completion of the master plan would be better for them because of the flexibility the new exhibits will give them. He adds no matter what the master plan would have in store, the exhibits can easily be changed, which is a big plus to the project.

[audio:zooexpansion3.mp3]Tetzloff On Projects Advantages[/audio]

Tetzloff adds just 2 years ago, J.J. Swartz was the donor of their current Red Panda exhibit. He is very thankful for the generosity they have shown towards the zoo. He hopes they can perhaps make an annual partnership of projects at low or no cost to the zoo to help with the improvements of the zoo.

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