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Columbus Zoo Unveils Details of New Downtown Attraction

Brent Warren Brent Warren Columbus Zoo Unveils Details of New Downtown AttractionAll photos courtesy of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
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The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium unveiled new details of their proposed “Downtown Adventure” attraction. The project, slated for a three-acre triangle of land across West Town Street from COSI, would feature interactive animal exhibits arranged around a multi-level tree sculpture.

Visitors would climb up and through a rain forest habitat and be presented with options; they could climb above the forest canopy on rope bridges, take a ride on a zipline coaster, or slide down to the banks of a reptile-filled river via a giant slide.

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Also included in the plans; overhead shark tanks, a touch pool, a billboard-sized jellyfish tank (along with interactive virtual jellies), special spaces designed to accommodate groups, and a chance to swim with sharks (or at least to don snorkel equipment and gaze at sharks on the other side of a protective cage).

A document released by the zoo that outlines these potential features was prepared by St. Louis-based PGAV Destinations, a company with experience designing attractions for amusement parks, zoos and museums.

Patty Peters, VP of Community Relations for the zoo, said it’s too early to talk about a timeline for the development, since it’s future is dependent on the passage of the zoo’s tax levy (Issue 6). “Best case scenario,” she said, “we could begin construction in 2015 and open in 2017.”

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The plan also calls for retaining the existing mature Sycamore trees on the site and incorporating them into a large outdoor play structure. Landscaped ramps and terraces would lead into the building, which would overlook a park with underground parking at the site of the current COSI parking lot.

The zoo attraction and the new park are part of the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation’s plan for the Scioto Peninsula. The plan also calls for a new, smaller Veteran’s Memorial and over 1,000 apartment units that would be developed as part of a new mixed-use neighborhood. With last year’s removal of the Main Street Dam, big changes are also in store for both sides of the Scioto River downtown, as construction continues on a new riverfront park.

For additional discussion on the redevelopment of the Scioto Peninsula, CLICK HERE to visit our messageboard.

All photos courtesy of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

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