Hattiesburg Zoo to open new giraffe exhibit May 15

Hattiesburg Zoo to open new giraffe exhibit May 15
An expanded Africa exhibit featuring two new giraffes will open on May 15. (Source: WDAM)

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The Hattiesburg Zoo has announced the date it will open a major new exhibit that will have some very tall tenants.

On May 15, the zoo will host the grand opening and ribbon-cutting for an expanded Africa exhibit, which will feature two giraffes, as well as several hyenas and colobus monkeys.

It’s a $3.6 million addition, which increases the size of the exhibit area by 25 percent.

Thursday morning, the zoo gave local media a sneak peek of the giraffe barn and six other buildings that are part of the expansion.

“We get folks from Jackson, from the North Shore, from Mobile, Alabama, of course, our own Pine Belt area as well, we have over 200,000 people come every year and this is going to increase those numbers, make people even more interested,” said Rick Taylor, executive director of the Hattiesburg Convention Commission.

“We do really have a really nice [giraffe barn] here,” said Kristen Moore, assistant animal curator at the Hattiesburg Zoo. “We’re going to have stall mats in there, plus some shavings, plus some heaters that line the wall for when it gets cold and big fans that push that heat down in the winter.”

The giraffes have not yet arrived in the Hub City.

When they do, Moore says they will need time to get acclimated to their new surroundings.

They are coming to Hattiesburg from the Audubon Zoo in Louisiana.

The grand opening on May 15 will take place at 11:45 a.m.

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