Huntsville animal lovers potentially have something to start getting excited about — if you believe everything you read on Facebook. A post circulating in the area under the page “A Zoo For You North Alabama” taunts readers with the possibility of a zoo in the Huntsville area, but is it true?
Here’s what we know:
The North Alabama Zoological Society is in charge of the Facebook page. This organization was started with the intent of founding a world-class zoo and aquarium in the Huntsville area.
According to their mission statement, their goals are to “connect the communities and visitors of North Alabama with the world’s natural wonders … be a standard of wildlife conservation action, and … inspire a better tomorrow.”
Their first post was on January 9 — it got a whopping 1,600 shares — and since then they’ve gained more than 7,500 followers.
The Zoological Society also states on their website that they’ve been working with officials in Limestone and Madison counties, although the location of the zoo, “is slated to be revealed at a later date with big fanfare.”
Madison County Commissioner Craig Hill said the Zoological Society was legitimate, and they’ve been working with government officials to get the zoo up and running.
The zoo page already has 39 reviews and an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 — an impressive score for something that doesn’t exist. Huntsville residents seem to be excited about the potential for a new place to go with kids.
“I not only recommend a Zoo I INSIST on a Zoo,” wrote Tina DeMaioribus. “This would be wonderful for our community and town! This will bring in so much revenue! Not to mention keeping Huntsville money IN HUNTSVILLE, vs. everyone traveling out of town to Nashville and surrounding areas! PLUS…. ANIMALS ARE AMAZING! Get these children and families together for something other than screens !!!”
Another commenter, Brandy Hyatt, seconded that no-screens position.
“It would give the community something else to get out of the house, away from the screens,” Brandy wrote.
Don’t get too excited yet, though. It’s going to take a lot of money and manpower to get a zoo up and running. Construction isn’t even set to begin for another few years.
The Toronto Zoo, one of the largest in the country, cost almost $17 million to build and almost $5 million to stock with animals — and that was back in 1974. That means it would cost $108 million in today’s economy. One exhibit in the San Diego Zoo cost $68 million to build, and that was just one exhibit.
Whatever happens, we’re just glad people are taking the initiative to bring animals to North Alabama. Just — please bring penguins.
And definitely giraffes.