ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – The new Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Park is taking shape.

Zoo officials describe the venue as a massive addition for north St. Louis County and “a win for everyone.”

Sabarras George, director of the Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Park, estimates the site will generate an economic impact of $660 million over the next decade.

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“Then, when you combine this and the Forest Park Zoo, you’re talking $2.5 billion combined,” said George. “We purposefully chose this area because we knew there was a lot of land and opportunity to grow.”

FOX 2 enjoyed a media tour Friday afternoon of the WildCare Park. The site was the former home of the plumbers and pipefitters union headquarters, which once contained one of the largest pools in the world and an 18-hole golf course. Now, it is hardly recognizable.

“We’ve only just begun planting,” said Leslie Garner, director of architecture and construction for the park. “We’ve planted the right-side entry road, but we still have the middle and left sides. The whole property will have native landscaping. We’ve already restored 260 acres from the golf course to native grasses.”

One thing you may notice as you make your way up inside the zoo’s new blank slate outdoor space: There are 17 new residents here at this safari experience that will open in 2027. That includes Roxie, the first Grevy’s zebra born on site.

“Started receiving animals last September. We should have 40 by the end of this year,” said Martha Fisher, general curator for the park. “Ultimately, we’ll have opening day in 2027 [with] 250 animals of about 30 different species. Exciting for us. We were excited for it to be our first birth, and we’re really excited because it’s a critically endangered species such as the Grevy’s zebra.”

One side of WildCare Park includes barns, fencing, and trees, dedicated to conservation. Another side will be a site for safaris, where people can ride in a zoo vehicle to experience an African safari.