Renderings give first look at San Antonio Zoo’s upcoming gorilla habitat

Congo Falls is expected to open in early 2025

Rendering shows new gorilla habitat Congo Falls at San Antonio Zoo (San Antonio Zoo)

SAN ANTONIO – More than a year after it was revealed that gorillas would be returning to the San Antonio Zoo, we are finally getting a sneak peek at what the exhibit will look like.

San Antonio Zoo shared renderings of a planned event center and the renderings included a photo of Congo Falls — the two-acre habitat where the mighty gorillas will live.

“We can’t overstate the excitement we have for bringing gorillas back to San Antonio Zoo,” said Tim Morrow, President and CEO of San Antonio Zoo.

Zoo officials said the goal is to create one of the largest gorilla habitats found in U.S. zoos and feature unique spaces, vistas, and exploration opportunities for guests and gorillas.

One of the unique spaces is a tower shown in the rendering below. A press release from the zoo calls it a “world’s first feature,” which will allow gorillas to climb from their open-air habitat up to the planned event center at the top of the cliff wall.

From San Antonio Zoo press release: A world's first feature tying the event center to the gorilla habitat is what the zoo is currently calling Silverback Peak. This tower element will allow gorillas to climb from an open-air gorilla habitat and actually visit an event at the event center at the top of the cliff wall. (San Antonio Zoo)

“We are one of just a few large city zoos that do not care for great apes, such as gorillas. Many children and adults in our community have never had the opportunity to see and learn about this amazing species,” Morrow said.

The event center and gorilla habitat are expected to open in early 2025 and the new zoo entrance is scheduled to open this November.

A video of what the new San Antonio Zoo entrance will look like can be seen in the media player below:

The design shows large gorilla statues, dozens of butterfly sculptures known as the butterfly gateway and mosaic art.

The gorilla statues are a nod to the $15 million Congo Falls project.

The entrance and gorilla habitat are being funded by 2022 voter-approved bond funds, Midtown TIRZ funds and donations to its capital campaign — Generation Zoo. The zoo is providing $47 million of the total projected cost of the $67 million overall price tag, primarily through donations to the campaign.

About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.