WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The demolition of Sedgwick County Zoo’s Asian Barn starts today.

The Asian Barn, inside the Children’s Farm area, was one of the first buildings at the zoo.

According to staff, it will be gone by the end of the week.

“The Asian Barn has been a historical piece at the zoo for many years so we know that some families will miss seeing this bright yellow building and the unique roof that it has,” said Schanee Anderson, curator of education and farms.

The demolition is the start of the zoo’s 25-year master plan, announced in October 2018.

The plan will be implemented in phases. Phase one includes a new entry complex and visitor center to help with the increase in annual visitors.

During the construction of the new entrance, visitors will use a temporary entrance through the Children’s Farm.

The demolition of the Asian Barn will allow crews to create the temporary entrance.

“The easiest path during construction is actually through our farms, which was historically the first entrance at Sedgwick County Zoo anyways, so it’s kind of going back to our roots a little bit,” explained Anderson.

The animals inside the Asian Barn will relocate to the American and African farms.

According to staff, construction won’t impact zoo guests.

The temporary entrance should be complete by mid-November or December.

Although it is a bittersweet day for zoo staff, especially workers at the Asian Barn, today means a new chapter is beginning at the zoo.

“We’re moving toward the zoo of the future so that we can continue to help support Wichita and their love for conservation and animals and making that connection with nature is just great,” Anderson said.

Phase one of the Sedgwick County Zoo’s 25-year master plan also includes:

  • Expanded Amur Leopard habitatrenovate the existing outdated enclosure to allow for more space and breeding options and enhance guest viewing options
  • CP Huntington Electric Trainoffer a new way to see the Zoo, including animal habitats and behind the scenes areas

Notable projects in subsequent phases include:

  • African lodge hotel and waterparkutilize undeveloped land behind the Zoo to build a destination resort with dramatic views of a new African Savanna
  • Community events centerbuild a state-of-the-art venue for weddings, meetings, and community events complete with an aquatic viewing feature and an onsite catering facility
  • Stingray touch experienceenable guests to watch, touch, and feed stingrays in an environment full of ocean conservation messaging and education opportunities
  • Aquariumexpand existing Amphibians & Reptiles building to include large oceanic species
  • Animal carouselprovide a fun and engaging way to highlight the endangered species that we care for in the Zoo and in the wild
  • New concert stage and central plaza areabuild an outdoor concert and event venue with the potential for multimedia experiences, animal demonstrations, and overnight campouts
  • Orangutan O-Lineincrease the space available to orangutans and put them closer to guests than ever before
  • Aerial sky ridesprovide an alternate mode of transportation as well as a new perspective of the Zoo