New look for the Honolulu zoo

The Honolulu zoo got a face lift. A snazzy new entrance now greets visitors with helpful information about animals and activities. The area includes a gift shop, a ticket booth and an concession for buying sunscreen or renting strollers and umbrellas.

About 600,000 people visit the zoo each year. It is located in Waikiki near the beach, convenient to hotels for travelers. Local residents also enjoy the animals and the Zoo Learning Center, which opened two years ago.

At the grand opening Friday, Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle said, “The Honolulu Zoo is truly one of our city’s treasures, and the new entrance has made it even better. This is just the latest in a series of upgrades and improvements that are helping our zoo remain a vibrant, world-class facility to showcase its animal collection for our kama’aina and visitors.”

The zoo recently renovated the lion enclosure and two new lions moved in. A major new elephant exhibit is also under construction, scheduled to open before the end of the year.

The entrance renovation was part of an almost three million dollar project that also relocated the zoo’s administrative offices and replaced the animal clinic. Replacing the entrance has been considered since the completion of a 1983 zoo master plan.

Photos: Tammi Hitchcock