New exhibits to open at the Fresno Chafee Zoo

July 29, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A new slithering attraction will soon be on display at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo.

The zoo's reptile exhibit is coming alive and soon the exhibit will be filled with the much anticipated king cobra.

"This is probably the largest king cobra exhibit in the U.S. at this time. It's a huge amount of space for the snake. She's going to have a great time spending her days in this enclosure," Said Mark Halvorsen, the zoo birds and reptiles Assistant Curator.

The 11-foot-long cobra is headed to Fresno from a St. Louis zoo. Her new digs are part of the "King Cobra" exhibit, which is the first major expansion for the 1970's building and features Southeast Asian influences in its design and d?cor.

One of the unique features of the exhibit is this floor to ceiling glass enclosure, giving not only visitors a unique perspective, but the reptiles as well.

"The ability for the animal to get down on an eye level with the people when they're in their world will really create an impact and generate some excitement behind that species," Halvorsen said.

In addition to the king cobra, a young komodo dragon will fill the space next door. The five-foot-tall dragon is coming from West Virginia. Visitors will also see another improvement.

"We took it upon ourselves to actually build two more enclosures opposite of the new exhibits. So they'll be some pretty new exciting species you'll see from the Asian area," Halvorsen said.

While staff members say there are still many finishing touches to complete, they are excited to see the latest project coming to life at the zoo. Thanks to the community, the king cobra exhibit is set to open to the public on August 17.

The zoo is also moving forward on its "African Adventures" exhibit, which will bring back lions, breeding elephants and cheetahs to the zoo. The project will break ground in September and could open in 2014.

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