20-Year Master Plan

Roger Williams Park Zoo unveiled the 20-year Master Plan in 2015. With funding for Zoo improvements approved as part of the Clean Water, Open Space and Healthy Communities Bond passed by voters in 2014, the Zoo used the seed money to begin the first phase of the plan in late 2016.

The plan includes three $25-million phases, with each expected to take five to seven years to complete. Construction is underway for the first project of phase one: a new Rainforest exhibit. Once completed, visitors will experience rare and exciting creatures from the rainforests of South America including birds, primates, and reptiles in a spacious and sunlit structure.

The second project of phase one will focus on the construction of a new, larger education center near Zoo admissions, and the parking area to accommodate the growth of its very popular award-winning programs and camps. The current education building will undergo a major renovation and open to visitors as New England’s only reptile house. The purpose of this exhibit is to educate guests about some of the most endangered and beautiful reptiles and amphibians from around the world. Rounding out the first phase will be a new event pavilion beside the wetlands pond, near the admissions plaza.

The second phase will significantly improve features in the entry area of the Zoo with new admissions structures, a new gift shop, and several animal exhibits. The plan calls for new Humboldt penguin and California sea lion enclosures with pools and a shore bird aviary. The third and final phase focuses on the upper Zoo with construction of two new large primate exhibits, an outdoor play area and a new tiger habitat. A complete reworking of the North America exhibit area will feature big horn sheep, grizzly bear, and moose.

With the announcement of the master plan, which was developed with GLMV Architecture, the Society staff will initiate campaigns to raise the additional $10-million needed to complete the individual projects in phase one.

Rainforest Building
A proposed design of the Rainforest building showing a large structure with multiple entry points & outdoor exhibits.
Rainforest Building
A conceptual rendering of the new Rainforest exhibit floor plan.
Rainforest Building
A glimpse of what the inside of the new Rainforest exhibit might look like when completed.
Rainforest Building
Proposed viewing in the Rainforest exhibit gives visitors an up-close look at exotic primates.
Education Center
The conceptual design of the new Education Center shows better access from the main parking lot for easy pick-up and drop-off.
Education Center
A plaza just outside the proposed Education Center offers more open space for visitors.
Reptile Building
A conceptual floor plan for the Reptile Building that will take over the old Education Center during phase one.

Take a peek at a map of the Zoo's 20-Year Master Plan that outlines all of the proposed/modified building and exhibit changes to come.