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Sacramento Zoo Considers Moving Into Natomas Arena Space

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) –  While the Kings are considering moving out of the Natomas Area, there’s another local mainstay who is thinking of moving in.

Half a million people a year walks through the Sacramento Zoo, making it Sacramento’s most popular year round attraction.  But, all the money the Zoo makes through admission still won’t cover any upgrades or expansion, so moving the animals to a spot like ARCO Arena could be an option.

The Sacramento Zoo has been a fixture in Land Park for 85 years.  With its lions, tigers and birds, the 14 acres holds more than 400 animals, but it has become a tight squeeze.

So, a 100 acre site sounded tempting to the zoological society.

Terry Kastanis with the Board of Directors says they looked into moving the zoo to about ten different locations.

“We’ll lose our accreditation if we don’t bring in new animals, a new experience,” says Kastanis.

Sutter Landing Park was zoological society’s first choice if the zoo had to move, but when they looked closely they realized this wouldn’t be the best option for the animals because it’s an old landfill underneath and it houses decade’s worth of Sacramento’s trash.

According to city reports, ARCO Arena property was another top choice, and the arena and new zoo could share the space.

But, Kastanis says don’t bet on the Natomas zoo, or any of the nine other locations identified as a possible new home.

Any new space could cost a million dollars an acre, and no one has a $100 million to spend.  It’s much easier and cheaper, Kastanis says, to improve what they have than to start from scratch.

“I think we’ll have to continue to look at this site and continue to expand where we are,” says Kastanis.

The Zoological Society’s Board of Directors will meet with city council Tuesday afternoon to discuss all their options.  One thing is certain, the last thing the zoo wants is to lose accreditation, because that would shut them down, but they say they can’t keep accreditation if the zoo stays the way it is now.

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