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Zoo's Amphibian and Reptile Center named after Fernandes

Mike Desmond/WBFO

The Buffalo Zoo has secured the final $300,000 for the construction of a new $3.7 million Amphibian and Reptile Center. It will be named in honor of Donna Fernandes, the Zoo's former president and CEO.

The funding comes from New York State's capital fund, after the Zoo secured commitments from the City of Buffalo, corporations, foundations and individuals. State Assemblymember Sean Ryan says the new state-of-the-art exhibit is the just latest transformation seen over the last 20 years.

"In some ways, it's not recognizable from the zoo I used to walk in when I was a child," Ryan said. "Luna has been given a new home in the Arctic Edge. You can explore the Rainforest and experience the Amazon right here in Buffalo."

Ryan says the original Reptile Center was originally opened in 1942.

During Fernandes' tenure, the Zoo developed $50 million in new exhibits, increased membership to more than 18,000 households, and built annual attendance to a 30-year high of 538,000.