Now that’s a grand entrance! Birmingham Zoo opens new Arrival Experience and Welcome Plaza (Photos)

June 29, 2019 is the official Grand Opening of the Birmingham Zoo’s Arrival Experience and Welcome Plaza.The new entrance is the culmination of Phase 2 of the Renew the Zoo Capital Campaign. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Today, June 29th is the official Grand Opening of the Birmingham Zoo’s Arrival Experience and Welcome Plaza.The new entrance is the culmination of Phase 2 of the Renew the Zoo Capital Campaign.

Birmingham Zoo’s Arrival Experience and Welcome Plaza. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Greatly enhancing the guest experience, the new entrance makes it easier and safer to access the Birmingham Zoo, which by the way is the 2nd most popular tourist attraction in the state of Alabama.

What are the new additions?

Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now
So, what is new at the zoo thanks to Phase 2?
Here is the list:
  • Front entrance Arrival  Experience
  • A expanded and attractive gift shop
  • Membership Office
  •  Hugh Kaul Plaza
  • Altec/Styslinger Learning Center
  • Sensory Room
  •  First Aid Station
  •  Modern restrooms
  • Administrative offices
  •  Overlook decks and event rentals

What is next?

Birmingham Zoo’s Arrival Experience and Welcome Plaza. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

More exciting changes will be unveiled in the next few years at the Birmingham Zoo.


For example, Phase 3 of the campaign  includes the renovation of the existing Predator building, which is being designed to highlight the following Asian species:  Malayan tiger, Komodo dragon, Sumatran orangutans, red pandas, Pallas’s cats, fishing cats, as well as other Asian species.

Other future capital projects, according to the Zoo include:

  •  Renovation of the flamingo habitat, including an interactive guest experience.
  •  Alabama Wilds area of the Zoo will have the new golden eagle habitat.
  •  A new ropes course allowing guests to view the area from the tree canopy above.
  • And an impressive new bobcat and cougar habitat.The new projects are projected to open 2021-2022.
Photo of the Red Panda from the Birmingham Zoo Facebook page

Check out all the new additions at the Birmingham Zoo and don’t forget to become a member – one of the best bargains in town.


Author: Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.