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Cathie Brown | The Journal Gazette
Randy Brown high-fives 2-year-old dingo Mawson during the capital campaign kickoff for the Australian Adventure on Tuesday.

Zoo announces $7 million campaign

After more than a quarter of a century, a little slice of the Outback in Fort Wayne is getting a facelift.

Provided the public is willing to help.

Fort Wayne Children's Zoo today officials announced a $7 million capital campaign to begin renovations on the Australian Adventure, the home of kangaroos, dingoes and an assortment of other critters.

The renovations include adding an ice cream shop and another eatery plus the addition of new animals, zoo officials said.

A stingray exhibit is in the works, as well as a "Crocodile Creek" play area where children can splash around in water – sans real crocodiles chasing them.

According to officials, $5 million of the $7 million needed for phase 1 of the renovations has already been raised.

Now, zoo officials are looking at ways to begin raising more funds, including asking the public for help.

Beginning today, anyone can go to the zoo's website and buy tiles with their names engraved on them. These tiles will then be placed along the entryway walk leading into the Australian Adventure.

This project is the second largest in terms of price that the zoo – which operates with no tax funding – has undertaken, according to information provided by officials.

Only the African Journey, which opened in 2009, cost more at $9.6 million.