BRANSON, Mo. — Dozens of exotic and endangered animals will soon have a new home in the Ozarks.
The Promised Land Zoo in Branson is just a few days away from unveiling its new 64-acre expansion to the public. The addition of the new drive through will give the zoo the largest footprint of any attraction inside city limits.
“There goes the first piece of our sign going up,” points out “Jungle” Josh Remenar, as he gives KOLR 10 a tour of the new addition, located directly behind his property on Shepherd of the Hills.
“Since this is a valley and it’s completely wooded, if anyone else would have come in here — to turn this into a shopping mall or a theater — they would have had to change everything,” he says.
While many of the animals haven’t arrived yet, visitors will soon be able to spot some 25 new species and nearly 200 new animals.
“My favorite is going to be the Arabian Oryxs,” Remenar says. “They’re really cool, they have really cool horns, and the coolest part is they were actually labeled extinct at one point.”
The new addition to the zoo has some two miles of road and five miles of fence line. The old outdoor amphitheater on Shepherd of the Hills will become a parking lot, and the former helicopter tours building will be repurposed into a café.
“All of this is being added without raising the price,” he says. “So this all is included with the regular admission that everybody’s always gotten.”
For an added cost, visitors will be able to get “inside” the fences to get even closer to the animals, via tram or ATV.
Remenar says the walking trail, currently being utilized by visitors, will also feature new additions and will be extended by a mile.
While some features, such as the café, may be a few months away, Promised Land is expecting the first drive through tours on July 20.
“The entrance will be finished in a few days and were bringing animals in by the load,” he says, “one load a day, right now.”
The zoo also expects to offer a lights tour inside the new expansion during the holiday season.