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LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. – The North Alabama Zoological Society has announced the location for north Alabama’s new zoo.

The new zoo will be located on 279 acres of land north of Martin Line Road next to Interstate 65, just south of Tanner. It will be easily accessible from US-72, US-31, I-565, and the Huntsville Browns-Ferry Exit on I-65.

“Limestone County continues to be blessed by growth and the addition of this unique North Alabama Zoological Park, by the North Alabama Zoological Society to our county is exciting,” said Limestone County Commission Chairman Collin Daly. “We welcome the addition of this landmark project and look forward to being a part of its success for many years.”

The zoo will be built in phases – the first of which will include animals native to the Tennessee Valley area south to the Gulf Coast, animals heroes that went into space, administration facilities, the aquarium, and an entertainment district. The first phase will take about three years to build.

Future phases will include three Adventure Trek Areas representing national parks and preserves from North America, Asia, and Africa featuring not only animals from those regions but zip lines, horseback riding, and safaris.

The Society is also buying 200-acres of land for a second location north of Madison along Limestone Creek. This second location will focus on sustainable farming research, the products of which will be used to feed the animals and supply the zoo’s restaurants.

“We have been working on the project for the last two years setting the groundwork for creating a much-wanted experience in our area,” said NALZS Executive Director Ethan Woodruff. “Other regions and communities our size have them, now is the right time for North Alabama to get one.”

NALZS is working with Lansing Companies to purchase the primary site. The non-profit is also working with the owner of the research property. To get both properties, NALZS will need around $11 million. The group is looking to work with companies, local governments, and community members to help achieve their fundraising goal.

Officials said research of the area shows once the zoo and aquarium are built it will help generate more than $100 million for the local business and bring more the 250,000 visitors to the area.

“As one of the largest land developers in the country, a project such as the North Alabama Zoological Park project will be such a blessing to the community and we expect it will bring substantial economic growth to the I-65 corridor that will be a catalyst for further highly beneficial projects in not only Huntsville but also nearby Athens and Decatur,” said Lansing Companies President and CEO Greg Lansing. “We are so grateful to Ethan Woodruff and the entire NALZS team to be a part of this landmark project.”

Below is a look at maps and artist renderings of what the future zoo could look like. The artwork can also be viewed here.

NALZS needs the community’s help to reach its $11 million goal. Anyone who wants to help can donate on the organization’s website.