San Antonio Zoo has revealed plans for a state-of-the-art event center as the third piece of its Phase 1 Master Plan expansion. The center will be the latest addition to the zoo’s $80 million investment, which has seen the construction of a new entrance and plaza and the return of gorillas to the zoo.
Funded entirely by donors, the event center will be available for galas, weddings, and other special events. The $67 million expansion project will also include a world-class gorilla habitat and a unique tower element that allows the gorillas to visit the event center at the top of the cliff wall.
“We have received some of the largest and most transformational gifts in our zoo’s 109-year history,” said Julie Gross, Chief Development Officer at San Antonio Zoo. “Our donors share our passion for this project, and many have told us their gift to Generation Zoo has been the largest philanthropic gift they have ever given.”
The event center, which is expected to open in early 2025, will sit on top of the quarry walls and offer a breathtaking view of the African Savanna and the downtown San Antonio skyline. With a capacity of approximately 500 people, the building will be equipped with professional audio / video and all the amenities needed to host large events. The commercial kitchen will serve as the centralized kitchen for zoo catering events throughout the park.
Silverback Peak, a tower element that connects the event center to the gorilla habitat, will allow the gorillas to climb from the open-air habitat and visit the event center at the top of the cliff wall. The center will also feature administrative offices, a bridal room, and a board room that can be rented out for smaller meetings.
“There will be no other event center like this in the world,” said a zoo spokesperson. “Sitting on top of the historic quarry walls, the views, the gorilla interaction, and more are symbolic of our drive to be known for quality, creativity, innovation, and world-class design in everything we do.”
The new entrance and plaza are already under construction and set to open in November of this year. With the gorilla habitat and event center scheduled to open in 2025, the zoo has already raised 75% of its fundraising goal for the Generation Zoo Phase 1 project.