APPLE VALLEY (AP) -- The new director of the Minnesota Zoo has a mission: to bring some New York dazzle to the Midwest.
Lee Ehmke comes to Minnesota on the heels of his success with a $50 million Congo Gorilla Forest exhibit at the Bronx Zoo in New York, one of the most highly acclaimed new zoo exhibits in the world.
The Minnesota Zoo was cutting-edge when it opened 22 years ago. By today's standards, though, the place lacks sizzle.
"I couldn't agree more that we need exhibits with a bit more 'wow' appeal," Ehmke said. "We need to be more interactive, to get you closer to the animals, to make use of all of the technological and design concepts available."
Ehmke, who was due to start work Monday, said the Minnesota Zoo has a lot to build on but could use some work. The zoo's vast undeveloped acreage, he said, makes it "one of (the) most beautiful palettes a zoo designer could ever think of working with."
But the zoo as it exists today, he said, is outdated, hard to navigate.
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