San Antonio Zoo Breaks Ground for Congo Falls,

a New Era for Gorillas


San Antonio, TX - This morning, an air of excitement and anticipation filled the atmosphere as guests, including board members, donors, city officials, media, and the passionate Zoo Crew, gathered to witness the groundbreaking ceremony for Congo Falls at San Antonio Zoo. The groundbreaking event marked a significant milestone in the zoo's 110-year history and set the stage for an extraordinary chapter in wildlife conservation and immersive experiences. The event also featured insightful discussions, shedding light on the historical significance and impact of bringing gorillas back to the San Antonio community.


"Congo Falls is set to redefine the landscape of gorilla habitats in the United States with its unparalleled scale and innovation," expressed Tim Morrow, President & CEO of San Antonio Zoo. "Guests will be treated to numerous vantage points for observing the gorillas, while the expansive roaming areas and interactive browsing garden will create a truly immersive experience for both visitors and animals – begging the question, who is watching who."


The 2-acre habitat will be framed by the historic quarry wall, featuring a world-first, the Mays Family Silverback Peak, a revolutionary 60-foot gorilla tower that connects to the new event center, The Ralston and allows the gorillas a skyline view of San Antonio. This innovative design blurs the lines between visitors and animals, creating spaces stimulating curiosity and interaction.


In a rare and groundbreaking opportunity, San Antonio Zoo, in collaboration with the Association of Zoos and Aquarium's (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP), will introduce eight Western lowland gorillas to the community, underscoring the significance of the innovative habitat design. The arrival of these gorillas is not only a pivotal moment for the zoo but also carries immense educational and conservation implications for the larger community.


As the first shovels broke ground for Congo Falls, San Antonio Zoo embarked on a new chapter in its dedication to wildlife conservation and immersive experiences, with a completion date in 2025. These magnificent animals have been a part of San Antonio Zoo's story since the 1950s. You might remember that in 1990, the last gorilla resident, Mopie, was moved to the Smithsonian Zoo in Washington, D.C. Today's event marked a defining moment in the zoo's commitment to reintroducing the presence of gorillas to the San Antonio community.


Mark Mays of The Mays Family Foundation and Susan Naylor, co-chair for the Generation Zoo capital campaign, delivered powerful speeches, further underscoring the significance of Congo Falls and its profound impact on the community and, in particular, educating children. The groundbreaking of Congo Falls serves as a testament to San Antonio Zoo's unwavering dedication to wildlife preservation and offers a glimpse into an exciting future where the boundaries between humans and animals will be redefined.


About San Antonio Zoological Society

San Antonio Zoological Society was established in 1929 and is a nonprofit organization committed to securing a future for wildlife. The society operates San Antonio Zoo, Will Smith Zoo School, Edutainment, Center for Conservation and Research at San Antonio Zoo, and Kiddie Park. 




About San Antonio Zoo

San Antonio Zoo®, operating since 1914, is a nonprofit zoological facility committed to securing a future for wildlife. Through its passion and expertise in animal care, conservation, and education, the zoo's mission is to inspire its community to love, engage with, act for and protect animals and the places they live. The zoo welcomes more than a million visitors each year and is open year-round. San Antonio Zoo operates the largest nature based preschool in the country, Will Smith Zoo School, the Center for Conservation and Research, and Kiddie Park. San Antonio Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Zoological Association of America, and Humane Certified by American Humane.