This June, visitors to Stone Zoo will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the sights and sounds of the Caribbean when the new Caribbean Coast opens to the public.
The Caribbean Coast, a $4 million new entry habitat experience, features a walk-through aviary with Caribbean flamingos, scarlet ibis, macaws and Jamaican iguanas, a bush dog exhibit, and fun, imaginative and interactive experiences designed to further connect guests of all ages to this region of the world. When it opens, the Caribbean Coast will be the only exhibit of its kind in New England where guests will have the opportunity to feed the flamingos.
The Caribbean Coast is being made possible entirely by private funding, including a generous contribution by StonehamBank. The capital campaign is in the homestretch with $300,000 left to raise.
“We are deeply grateful for the generosity of the donors who recognize the incredible value that Stone Zoo brings to the community, and who are helping us to realize our vision to truly transform Stone Zoo,” says John Linehan, Zoo New England president and CEO. “The Caribbean Coast is an exciting addition that will not only transform the guest experience but will also further connect people to the incredible biodiversity of this region of the world and teach about the shared responsibility we all have on behalf of wildlife.”
“StonehamBank has been a proud sponsor of Stone Zoo for many years, and we are excited for this latest opportunity to help support the Caribbean Coast exhibit,” says Janice Houghton, president and CEO of StonehamBank. “It is a natural partnership for StonehamBank and Stone Zoo to work together to help our community thrive.”
The Caribbean Coast is the second phase of the transformation of Stone Zoo’s entry and Welcome Plaza. The space, which is physically adjacent to the Welcome Plaza, Treasures of the Sierra Madre and Yukon Creek, has been seamlessly integrated and dramatically improves the way guests experience the zoo. This new addition also builds on recent improvements to Stone Zoo including the opening of the $3 million Welcome Plaza in August 2017, featuring a new entry and ticketing plaza, a new gift shop, and new restrooms. The new Animal Discovery Center also opened last year.
The Caribbean Coast is separated into four featured areas:
Flamingo Flats will be home to the zoo’s highly successful breeding colony of Caribbean flamingos. The walk-through aviary, which will include flamingo feeding opportunities for the public, will also feature scarlet ibis, macaws and Jamaican iguanas. Thought to be extinct for decades, the critically-endangered Jamaican iguana is the largest terrestrial vertebrate on Jamaica and can only be found in the tropical dry forests of Hellshire Hills near Kingston, Jamaica.
Photo by Ron Magill
The new bush dog exhibit, the only one in New England, will feature a pair of bush dogs. Listed as a near threatened species by IUCN, these small mammals can be found in extreme eastern Central America and northern South America, south to Paraguay and northeastern Argentina. Formidable hunters, their size and shape make them uniquely adapted for life on the forest floor, while their webbed feet make them good swimmers.
Along the Calypso Trail, guests will encounter percussion instruments evoking the sounds of the islands, as well as discover several flamingo yoga stations. The yoga stations invite guests of all ages to mimic flamingo behavior while also teaching about the importance of behavioral adaptations.
Located right off the Calypso Trail, Fiesta Gardens is an outdoor multi-use space that will be used for educational programming, special events and private rentals. This space fulfills a great need at Stone Zoo, which also greatly enhances revenue generating potential through rentals and private events.
The Caribbean Coast is being built by Commodore Builders. Coyle and Caron is the landscape architect and exhibit design firm for this project.