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Buffalo Zoo opens grand new entrance

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WBFO News photo by Mike Desmond
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When visitors arrive at The Buffalo Zoo, they will now will enter through a grand new entrance along the main parking lot. It replaces the entrance on Parkside Avenue built when trolleys once rolled by. 

The new entrance building is familiar to generations of zoo-goers because it was once the children's zoo.

It now  houses a much larger shop and many more entrances than the Parkside gate. It also has permeable pavement so water will flow right through and into the ground.

A ribbon cutting was held at the Zoo Wednedsay night.

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Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley
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Buffalo Zoo officials and local leaders cut the ribbon on new Zoo entrance

Zoo President Donna Fernandes says the new entrance will be easier for families.

"Located right off the Zoo's parking lot, the new entrance is destined to welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. We trust this location will be safer and more convenient for guests, especially families, and it we hope it will provide an efficient greeting and entrance experience for all Zoo visitors. We are also very proud that we were able to be conservation-minded and re-use an old, existing building, "

Opening the new entrance clears the way for the new Arctic exhibit potentially housing two polar bears now temporarily housed here.

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Credit WBFO News photo by Mike Desmond
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Newly reconfigured entrance area at Buffalo Zoo.

Fernandes says construction on the new winter animals complex has to start by September for bears Luna and Kali to stay here.

The $18 million fund drive is approaching $16 million, with State Senator Mark Grisanti saying the Senate is kicking in $400,000 toward project.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.