Denver Zoo announces ‘Down Under’ habitat to open in 2023

The Australia and New Zealand-themed habitat is scheduled to open in summer 2023 on the old Bird World site and surrounding areas, the zoo said.

DENVER — Almost two and a half years after Denver Zoo closed its old Bird World exhibit, it announced plans on Tuesday for that space.

The Zoo plans to open an Australia- and New Zealand-themed habitat called “Down Under” that will encompass the former Bird World site and the surrounding area on the south side of the zoo. The habitat is scheduled to open in summer 2023.

“The closure of Bird World in 2019 presented us with an incredible opportunity to create better habitats for our animals and experiences for our guests,” said Bert Vescolani, Denver Zoo president and CEO, in a news release. “ ‘Down Under’ will give us the unique opportunity to tell a story about a region that shares a lot of climatic and environmental similarities with Colorado, and inspire wildlife-friendly behavior changes in our community.”

> Video above: After 45 years, Bird World at the Denver Zoo is closing, aired Sept. 9, 2019.

The demolition of Bird World is underway, and construction of “Down Under” will start this summer, the zoo said.

The almost 2-acre habitat will have landscaping that mimics the ecosystems of Australia and New Zealand. At the core of the habitat will be a walk-through wallaby area and the zoo’s first “conservation station,” which lets visitors put conservation learnings into practice, according to the zoo.

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The zoo said it’s building relationships with colleagues and indigenous collaborators to incorporate the role of indigenous knowledge and practices regarding native species and ecosystems.

Denver Zoo supports conservation and wildlife rescue programs in Australia and New Zealand. The zoo said that since 2018, it has supported the Kea Conservation Trust, which works to conserve the endangered parrot species native to New Zealand.

In addition to “Down Under,” the zoo is building a new habitat for its Chilean and American flamingos, which is also scheduled to open in 2023.

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