Visitors to the Gladys Porter Zoo on busy days won’t have to stand in line as long once a major renovation project is complete. Zoo Director Patrick Burchfield said two entrances and a ticket booth are being added for the general public, plus a new membership office and separate entry that will allow zoo members to avoid the lines all together. It’s part of a new entry/exit complex going in near the zoo’s current single-turnstile exit leading to the parking lot left of the main entrance, he said.
“What that’s going to do, on busy days in particular, it’s going to expedite us getting more people in there more quickly and serving them more efficiently,” Burchfield said. The existing turnstile will be relocated, and another installed next to it, as part of the new complex. Both turnstiles will be able to accommodate wheelchairs and double-wide strollers. The old gift shop, meanwhile, has been “totally gutted, renovated and redone,” Burchfield said. The gift shop at the main entrance will remain in operation, he said.
Work on the new complex started about two months ago, and a ribbon cutting is planned for August, Burchfield said. Zoo facilities director Jerry Stone, who is in charge of the project, said the new entrances will take pressure off the main entrance during the busiest times and relieve the chaos that sometimes envelops the tiny front office.

By STEVE CLARK Staff Writer