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ABQ BioPark Releases Facility Plan Update

Plan will guide capital improvements through 2031
April 23, 2024


The voter-approved ⅛-cent gross receipts tax (GRT) has transformed many parts of the ABQ BioPark since its implementation in 2016. An updated Facility Plan, released today by the BioPark and Mayor Tim Keller, lists projects planned through the end of the funding cycle in 2031. 


Completed projects, including Asia and Penguin Chill at the Zoo and North American river otters at the Aquarium, were included in the BioPark’s 2014 Master Plan. That plan, however, didn’t include budgets or an achievable timeline of projects, nor could it have predicted post-pandemic supply chain disruptions and evolving priorities for the care and conservation of animals and plants.


“The Facility Plan maximizes our community’s investment to realize the greatest effects on animal wellbeing, conservation and guest experience,” said BioPark Director Brandon Gibson. “We are building a BioPark that our community can be proud of and that will have a measurable impact on animals, plants and people in Albuquerque and around the world.”


Projects were scored against a set of criteria, including safety, mission alignment, inclusion in the original 2014 Master Plan, overall impact, existing infrastructure, and cost. The resulting list of highest-priority projects in the short- and mid-term will impact each of the BioPark’s facilities: Zoo, Aquarium, Botanic Garden, and Tingley Beach. Funds from the final years of the GRT will continue to be prioritized, allowing for flexibility as the BioPark’s and community’s needs continue to evolve.


Highlights from the updated Facility Plan include an interactive ambassador animal complex at the Zoo, major renovations of the entrances at the Zoo and Aquarium/Botanic Garden, a Mexican gray wolf refuge behind the Botanic Garden and shoreline improvements at Tingley Beach. The complete list of Facility Plan projects can be found at


“GRT funds are allowing us to build best-in-class habitats that far exceed typical zoo animal care standards,” said Lynn Tupa, BioPark Zoo manager. “Guests can already see that animals in Asia have increased their natural behaviors and fully engage with their habitats, which elevates their physical and mental wellbeing. We will continue to build and renovate habitats to provide this same extraordinary level of choice and control for more animals in our care.”


“From a conservation perspective, the GRT is a game-changer,” said BioPark Associate Director Matthew Peterson. “Projects behind the scenes, like the S.H.A.R.C. (Science, Health and Aquatic Research Center) and the Mexican gray wolf refuge, will allow the BioPark to care for rare wildlife while also supporting the genetic diversity of local and global populations.”


The release of the Facility Plan Update is accompanied by the annual GRT report, which details the completed projects and expenditures for 2023.