“The zoo unveiled plans for the visitor center at an open house Thursday in its offices at 2001 N. Clark St.
According to Steven Thompson, the zoo’s senior vice president of capital and programmatic planning, it will replace the Gateway Pavilion, the building with the circular entryway that has greeted zoo visitors at the East Gate since 1994.
‘At the time, it was a huge improvement,’ Thompson said, but it proved to be dark and congested inside and ill-suited to the multiple tasks of housing the information desk, member services, stroller, wagon and wheelchair rental, lost-and-found and first-aid stand.
The new visitor center, designed by Ross Barney Architects, is to be open and welcoming, with large glass windows. Two buildings will span the East Gate with an overhead canopy offering shade. The smaller building to the south will have restrooms visitors can use when they arrive or when they leave for the parking lot between the zoo and the Lincoln Park lagoon, as Thompson said the majority of visitors use the East Gate.”
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