After nearly three years of construction, the San Diego Zoo will debut its newest wing this Friday: The 3.2-acre Denny Sanford Wildlife Explorers Basecamp, nestled at the site of the former Children’s Zoo.
Who (hoo, hoo) lives at these new, $87 million digs, you ask? Basecamp features four habitats with critters like endangered Fijian iguanas, dragon-headed katydids, prairie dogs + burrowing owls. Let’s explore.
🦎 Basecamp’s habitats:
- Rainforest: Here you’ll find a multi-level outdoor area with caiman + tortoises. There’s also the 10,000-sqft “Spineless Marvels Invertebrate House” filled with butterflies, arachnids, coconut crabs, bees + honeycomb. At the Rady Ambassadors Headquarters, look for the two-toed sloth and prehensile-tailed porcupine. 🐝
Wild Woods: This zone is home to squirrel monkeys + coatis and is all about climbing and playing. Active explorers will find the Prebys Foundation Discovery Bridge + a 20-foot-tall play structure that looks like an oak tree. Check out the waterfall grotto, splash pad, water jets, and the bluffs. Sounds like the place to hang. 🐒
- Marsh Meadows: Think crocodilians, amphibians, turtles, lizards + snakes. This outdoor watery area highlights wildlife in marshes, swamps, and estuaries. The 7,000-sqft Art and Danielle Engel Cool Critters building boasts immersive environments, digital media, and classroom spaces. 🐊
- Desert Dunes: The fennec fox, prairie dog + burrowing owl rule this roost. Here, you’ll find boulders for climbing + hopping, plus rocks and cool caves with shaded areas to beat the heat. 🦊
🌎 The lessons:
Basecamp’s interactive design is meant to encourage little ones to play, learn about nature + develop an understanding of the zoo’s ongoing conservation efforts. San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance said Basecamp is “nurturing the future caretakers of our planet.”
🎟️ How to visit:
Basecamp is included with admission or membership to the San Diego Zoo.