Rochester, N.Y. — There’s a big investment coming to the Seneca Park Zoo.
Nearly $60 million in improvements are coming over the next five years.
One of the buildings they're tearing down is the main building, built in the 1930s.
It was state-of-the-art at that time, but times are changing, and so is the zoo.
"We live right down the street so we come here often and they're very excited to see the giraffes and some of the different other animals that are going to be here," said Julie Bottiglier on Sunday.
Anytime it's nice, the Bottiglier family loves to get out to the zoo. They're just one of the families 13WHAM spoke with Sunday that's excited to hear about the zoo expansion.
“The first phase, we'll be adding the giraffe, rhino, zebra, growing the size of the zoo,” zoo director Larry Sorel said. “That will allow us to move animals and some of our operations out of this building.”
Plans were approved last week by county leaders for phase one of an expansion that's already two years in the making.
$37 million will be coming from the county, and the other $20 million will be coming from donors.
The main building will be going through a major face lift. It’s been there since the 1930s, and in its place will be the African exhibit.
"I'm excited for the giraffes," said Grace Bottiglier, who was excited to learn that she’ll be able to feed the animals at the new exhibit.
"I think it's good for the community, for Irondequoit and Rochester residents,” said Tracy Glenn, a mother visiting the zoo with her son. “So [the community] can always bring their kids and their kids look at the animals in their habitats."
“This will really take us to a completely new level and give this community the kind of zoo it really deserves,” Sorel said.
The zoo will also be adding a larger restaurant, bigger education space, and a bigger gift shop. Phase one is expected to be completed by 2018. The zoo will remain open even during construction.