Zoo and science centre teaming up for US$123m EcoPark project
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Zoo and science centre teaming up for US$123m EcoPark project

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A proposed joint venture between the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society and the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium could see a US$123m (€96.3m, £76.6m) ecotourism park and complex built over the next decade, attracting as many as 2.2 million visitors annually.

Plans for EcoPark include a butterfly haven, rope canopy tour, IMAX theatre, outdoor Everglades exhibit, environmental education centre and more, with the build taking between 5 and 10 years.

According to a preliminary study, the annual economic impact of the project could be as much as US$300m (€235m, £187m) to the local area.

If built as planned, EcoPark would be the largest destination in the US, focused on conservation and the environment, and possibly the most visited destination in South Florida,” said the science centre’s president and CEO, Lew Crampton, speaking during a Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce breakfast.

“It’s only a prospect now, but we have good people working on it and we have a lot of interest in seeing it go forward.”

The zoo and science centre must now come up with a joint-venture agreement, laying out specific roles and responsibilities. Both facilities are currently undergoing individual upgrades, with the science centre opening a new west wing in February, while the zoo is doubling the size of its Malayan tiger habitat, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

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A proposed joint venture between the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society and the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium could see a US$123m (€96.3m, £76.6m) ecotourism park and complex built over the next decade, attracting as many as 2.2 million visitors annually.
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