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Jun 17, 2013 7:41 PM by Erika Flores

Hippo exhibit planned for Reid Park Zoo

TUCSON - Changes may be coming to Reid Park Zoo if the city OKs its master plan.

Expanding the health center and adding an exhibit is part of the $10 million upgrade.

The expansion would add viewing windows to part of the health center, so that the public could see behind the scenes.

The vision was to allow visitors to see veterinarians treating the animals.

"If it has a broken foot, then they can take care of it or a broken wing," said Drake and Piper Thompson, who were visiting the zoo.

It is something the general public doesn't have access to right now, but that could soon change.

"I think it would be great to educate the kids more of exactly what goes on behind the scenes," said parent Frantina Monarrez.

Not only would the health center expansion be for public education, but also the needs of a growing zoo.

Right now the health center is a small building with limited space for animals and medical machines.

"As we grow and new technology is developed and we acquire the technology to care for these animals, we need the facilities to do it," said Dr. Alexis Moreno, veterinarian with Reid Park Zoo.

Another part of the master plan is a new hippo exhibit.

"We could potentially have the opportunity for people to have underwater viewing of hippos, they are very active and very graceful underwater," said Vivian VanPeenen, with Reid Park Zoo.

The plan will be presented during Tuesday's city council meeting.

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