Seminole County Commissioners are set to discuss buying a tract of land so the Central Florida Zoo in Sanford can expand. They are looking at an almost 17-acre parcel just west of the zoo that CEO Joe Montisanto says is the last piece of contiguous land available.
"This is the only chance we'll even have to expand the zoo. This is the only piece of land, this is it. We can always be this facility or we can fundamentally change who we are."
The cost is $1.45 million for the property. Montisanto says they will build an African safari on the parcel.
"Basically we would have a mixed species exhibit where we would have a giraffe, a zebra, okapi, wildebeest, ostrich, whatever. A variety of animals basically free roaming in an area with watering holes, much like you would see in Africa on the plains."
Tourist taxes would be used to buy the tract. A capital fundraising campaign will provide for the animals and money to build out the land.
"When we open it up, it'll be another gate for us, so it'll actually be self-funded. It will operate itself, or pay for itself, as it goes on."