Toledo Zoo museum to feature greenhouse, tree 40 feet tall

Published: Mar. 3, 2018 at 11:17 PM EST
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When you think about going to the zoo, you imagine that you'll be seeing animals.

But a big part of the museum renovation is the incorporation of *plants* - some of them already housed at the zoo's conservatory.

Kent Bekker, Director of Conservation Research at the Toledo Zoo explains, "The front greenhouse that visitors are seeing when they come to the zoo now is going to be a two-story neo-tropical greenhouse, and it's going to highlight the tropical plants and the tropical biodiversity. The museum, when it's completely done, will be a mix of dioramas, kind of natural history museum, but we're also going to have some live animals in there. So the greenhouse itself will be full of plants, and some animals running around."

Bekker says that includes small animals like birds and butterflies. But one addition to the greenhouse won't be so small.

Bekker says, "The lower story will actually have, at some point, hopefully a 40-foot tree filling that entire space."

Builders have factored in the eventual incorporation of that tree. A section of the greenhouse is still unfinished, and protected with plywood. That opening is where the 40-foot tree will be brought into the greenhouse. Other parts of the project were there long before the renovation even started.

"We're taking advantage of the historic architecture,” Bekker explains. “There was a roof there between the offices that were last done in the museum, and that roof is going to be fortified and be able to be walked out on and hold plants. This building was built in 1936, so it's really neat to be able to take advantage of the architecture."

The museum is expected to open to the public in spring 2019.