Zoo Atlanta project will allow visitors to feed giraffes starting next Spring

By David Pendered

Zoo Atlanta visitors will be able to feed giraffes from a terrace that is to open next Spring.

For a small fee, visitors will be able to feed romaine lettuce to the giraffes, said Nevin Lash, an Atlanta landscape architect who is designing the new terrace and approach ramp.

Feeding a Giraffe.

The giraffe's long tongue captures the attention of this young man. Credit: Ursa International from https://lewisfamilyexploringoz.wordpress.com

“It will be a great experience with a giraffe that has a 19-inch long tongue, which you don’t get to see unless it’s feeding directly in front of you,” Lash said.

Zoo Atlanta Terrace

Zoo Atlanta visitors will be able to feed giraffes from this terrace, which is to open in Spring 2012. Credit: Ursa International

The terrace also will serve as an event space for breakfasts, meetings and other small gatherings, Lash said.

The $60,000 project is expect to be put out for bid in December and open in March or April. The exact date will depend on the weather, Lash said.

“It’s a small project that will have a big impact because it will get people closer to the animal,” Lash said.

The terrace and ramp will be installed in an area where a planter now serves to control views between the giraffe and rhino exhibits, Lash said. The ramp will be accessible, under the rules of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The project is slated to be reviewed by the Atlanta Urban Design Commission at its Nov. 28 meeting. No opposition is expected, but the AUDC does need to review the construction plan because the zoo is located in the Grant Park Historic District.

With this project, Zoo Atlanta joins Oakland Cemetery in continuing to make improvements despite the sour economy. The zoo project is funded with private donations, while the cemetery is refurbishing 37 mausoleums with a matching grant of $200,000 from the Save America’s Treasures program, which is affiliated with the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Zoo Atlanta has continued to implement its initial master plan for redevelopment, which was completed in 1986 and has helped guide the zoo into its modern era. Lash has been involved in a series of annual projects, along with his wife, Gail Lash. The couple operates Ursa International from their 1894 Victorian home in Grant Park.

Zoo Atlanta Terrace

Zoo Atlanta visitors will be able to feed giraffes from this terrace, which is to open in Spring 2012. Credit: Ursa International

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

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