(INDIANAPOLIS) - It's construction season at the Indianapolis Zoo and the downtown attraction is undergoing major changes.
Construction is nearly complete on the entrance of the zoo. For the past few months, workers added a new ticket counter, an expanded gift shop - which opened Saturday - and a new entrance. The additions are to help facilitate the growing number of visitors to one of the city's more popular attractions.
"The zoo was built for a million people. Our baseline now is 1,100,000," said Tim Savona, vice president of operations.
"Normally, you park way over there. This thing's all crowded," said visitor Samantha Bellows.
One of the first things you noticed as you walk into the zoo is express ticketing, where you can buy tickets with a credit card and avoid lines at the ticket booth.
"With the retail space, we added about 30 percent more inside," Savona said.
While the zoo usually adds a new exhibit each year, like the "in your face" tiger space that opened last season, it's the first time since the zoo relocated to the White River State Park they've done any renovation to the entrance.
While the construction was scheduled during down time, the unseasonable temperatures are bringing more visitors than usual who don't seem to mind the mess.
"We didn't have any problem getting here," a visitor said.
The big equipment is gone, but some clean-up remains, which is something for Spring Break visitors to keep in mind.
The express ticket machines are expected to be online starting next week. There's also a new stroller area at the entrance.
Workers are still constructing the new "Wild Birds of Fancy" exhibit inside the zoo, which is expected to open Memorial Day weekend.
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