ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - "The chance of a lifetime" is what leaders of the Saint Louis Zoo say about plans to expand on the south side of Interstate 64. The public will get its first look at preliminary plans for the expansion Wednesday night.
The Zoo is hemmed in between Forest Park and I-64. But, just beyond I-64 sits an empty, former hospital for which the Zoo has big plans.
The Saint Louis Zoo purchased the old Forest Park Hospital, and the 13.5 acres it sits on, back in October, 2012. Since then the Zoo has been working up some preliminary plans for the site.
For starters, the Zoo will relocate some parking to the site on the south side of I-64 to make room for new exhibits on the north side.
Most of the buildings on the hospital site will likely be demolished. Some possibilities for what will replace them include more research and lab space, potentially some commercial even residential space with the goal of blending the Zoo into the neighborhood, and there could be a new bridge, rail transport train or even a gondola to connect the two sites over the I-64.
And there are also plans for new exhibits on the old hospital grounds including a year-round, indoor idea the Zoo is imagining as "Cross-Section Earth."
The plans are still in the early stages. But, Wednesday from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. in The Living World building, the public can get a more detailed look at the drawing board. And the Zoo says it wants public input on the plans.
Some of the plans that are more definite, like relocating the parking and the demolition of some of the buildings, could start by the end of the summer.