HOUSTON – The Galápagos Islands exhibit will now open in early 2023, the Houston Zoo announced Thursday, citing supply chain issues.
The zoo said problems receiving key construction materials, like acrylic viewing panels for the sea lion habitat, have created unexpected delays. The project, which is a part the cultural icon’s 100th anniversary celebration, will now open to the public in the first quarter of next year.
“We’re disappointed that the project has been delayed, but we know we’re not alone in experiencing supply chain problems,” said Houston Zoo president and CEO Lee Ehmke. “Our commitment to conservation in the Galápagos Islands, our animal residents, and our guests here in Houston remain unwavering. A short delay in our exhibit opening will not deter us from our mission of connecting communities to animals, inspiring action to save wildlife.”
The zoo said the exhibit is the first of its kind to showcase the wildlife of the legendary island chain. The design aims to “immerse guests in an environment evoking the archipelago’s unique landscapes and oceanic habitats and highlight how to protect it for the future.”
“No place on our planet better exemplifies the wonders of unique species, the delicate balance of ecosystems, or the pressing need for conservation action more than the Galápagos,” the zoo said in its news release. “With sea lions, giant tortoises, sharks, and Humboldt penguins, Galápagos Islands at the Houston Zoo will add an extraordinary immersive experience to Houston’s world-class zoo.”
See some of the renderings of the exhibit and the construction underway in the photos below.