Ground was broken this morning to officially mark the start of construction on a new entrance for the Assiniboine Park Zoo.
The $5.5-million project is expected to be completed next spring.
It will feature a 11,410-square-foot, multi-purpose facility constructed just east of the current zoo entrance at 2595 Roblin Blvd.
"Not only will the new entrance accommodate the growing zoo, it will welcome our visitors in a way that as they approach, they know what they’re about to see and experience inside is going to be spectacular," said Margaret Redmond, president and CEO of the Assiniboine Park Conservancy.
The new building will feature a welcoming plaza, a guest services centre and a new retail store.
The grounds of the new facility will represent the natural prairie and wetland areas and forests of Manitoba.
Portico Group, the lead architectural firm on the project, is also the team behind the Journey to Churchill exhibit currently under construction at the zoo and scheduled to open in summer 2014.