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Mill Mountain Zoo is expanding but needs the community's help to fund it

ROANOKE,Va. – Beth Rodriguez and her two kids, Bill and Sophie, have been to Mill Mountain Zoo twice in the last week.

She says the kids are always looking for something new. 

 “It’s nice for the kids to have something new to see each time we come and keep learning more about  the different kind of animals,” said Rodriguez.

 After months of renovations, the snow leopard exhibit has reopened to debut its new upgrades after receiving a grant of $47,000 from the Roanoke Women’s Foundation.

“He has a waterproof ceiling now, and we don't have to worry about him in the middle of the night when it’s pouring down raining. He has an AC system now, so he's cool when it’s hot,” said Brittany Byram, guest services manager for Mill Mountain Zoo.

Byram says that the upgrade was needed for the safety of the keepers servicing him and due to old age. 

Now officials are turning their focus on the largest project in Mill Mountain Zoo history--the building of the North American river otter exhibit, 

“The North American river otters are just like our North Asia river swamp clawed otters, but they are little bit bigger and they are native in our area. And our goal is to have Virginia native animals,” said Byram. 

The zoo has already raised $300,000 of the $600,000 needed to break ground on the exhibit, which will be located where the deer exhibit currently is.
 This new feature will include a viewing deck and a waterfall. 

“We want to educate the public on why you should  come to zoos and why should go to Mill Mountain. It’s because you get to learn about what is right in your backyard,” said Byram.

Mill Mountain hopes to begin construction in the coming months. Follow this link for more information or to donate.