Updated Zoo reptile house reopens Saturday

Mar 15, 2013

The oldest building at any zoo nationwide is ready to debut its updated look. The Cincinnati Zoo's 138-year-old Reptile House reopens tomorrow after undergoing renovation.

Workers uncovered a previously unknown wood and glass oculus hidden beneath layers of old paint.
Credit Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Director Thane Maynard says workers found and restored a previously unknown wood and glass oculus window in the dome ceiling.

"It ends up that over the years 12 coats of paint had been painted over this so it looked like just woodwork or decoration, when it is really this magnificent 20th century phenomenon sort of drawing you into the building," he says. "Much like what you might see when you go in historic buildings in Washington, DC."

Other upgrades include new paint; carpeting; plaster, window and HVAC repairs; and sound damping banners.

The Zoo got a grant from the National Park Service to fund the work.