'Heartfelt project:' New Elephant Exhibit at Milwaukee County Zoo to open May 4

MILWAUKEE -- After years of planning and construction -- the Milwaukee County Zoo is unveiling its brand new Elephant Exhibit. Kasey spent the morning getting a sneak peek!

About The Elephant Exhibit (website)

The Milwaukee County Zoo is proud to announce its new Elephant Exhibit, transforming one-fourth of the Zoo’s current layout, will officially open to visitors Saturday, May 4, with a “grand reveal” and opening day activities at 10 a.m.

“The new Elephant Exhibit has been a monumental and heartfelt project for many Zoo staff since the commitment was made in 2013 to keep African elephants in the collection,” says Zoo Director Chuck Wikenhauser.  “This first phase of the Adventure Africa project showcases African elephants and the various state-of-the-art amenities and renovations necessary to give these animals the best possible care throughout their lives. This is an exciting time for the Zoo and our visitors, and we couldn’t be happier.”

The new 20,000-square-foot Elephant Care Center features a recreation room with both sand and padded floors, five individual stalls for training and husbandry (allowing the elephants to participate in their own healthcare) and expansive space for enrichment activities.

Indoor enrichment items include hay-filled barrels that zookeepers are able to hang from the ceiling which allow the elephants to exercise their trunk muscles, reaching up to these high-hanging devices.  Elephants in the wild would behave similarly, reaching high into the tree canopies, extending their trunks for branches and leaves to eat.