Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines is in the midst of their biggest expansion/renovation EVER, and they're sharing some of the details with the public!

On Monday (April 8th), Blank Park Zoo announced on Facebook that they are in the public phase of their 18 million dollar 'Expand the Impact' Capital Campaign. There are several new projects in the works under this campaign, one of which is the Ruan Foundation's 'Wild Iowa.' The post reads:

"Wild Iowa will present three key species, including the Nationwide Foundation Bald Eagles, that are highly engaging to guests and iconic in the Iowa landscape. Each space will highlight the animal in its natural habitat and demonstrate their connection to the environment. During this time, Blank Park Zoo will also be making improvements to Hub Harbor. This includes an expanded seal and sea lion building, a saltwater life support system and additional shade."

An article from the Des Moines Register says Wild Iowa will also include bobcats, "a glass viewing tunnel and deep-water viewing area" for otters, and a new aquarium for amphibians that are native to Iowa. The aim is to open it in early 2026.

Another major addition to the zoo is the Marjorie A. Foster Lion Conservation Center, which they hope to open in the summer of 2025. The Facebook post says that it will triple the space for their lions and "will allow guests to connect with a pride of lions from three different viewing experiences, each designed with an inclusive lens and featuring glass from floor to ceiling." The Des Moines Register reports that the lion's former space will be turned into a conservation center for the tigers, with a goal to open by the end of 2026.

Here are some of the other changes included in the campaign:

  • A new stage in the center of the zoo (opens this spring)
  • New pathways throughout the zoo
  • New signage

Because of donations from several organizations, around two-thirds of the money for the campaign has already been secured, and the zoo is also waiting on grant applications. If you'd like to contribute, you can make a donation to Blank Park Zoo HERE.

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