When the City of Oshkosh updated their Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan in 2011, the Menominee Park was identified as the city’s most visible and popular park. That resulted in the development of a comprehensive long range master plan (2012) focused on playgrounds, boat launches, sports fields and other outdoor facilities found in Menominee Park. The Menominee Park Zoo, located within the park, was not included and this comprehensive master plan report will define the next 20 years of the zoo’s development. The multi-disciplinary design team worked intensively with the Oshkosh Parks Department, Advisory Park Board, Zoo Society, and the community to develop a new master plan concurrent with innovative and visionary designs for the zoo that fit within the overall mission of the zoo. The mission statement is “to service the community through the acquisition and maintenance of a collection of living animals for the enrichment of the zoo visitor, with continual advancement of knowledge and appreciation of animals, both wild and domestic and their environments.”
The planning process included a review of the existing zoo and surrounding park through an onsite inspection and meetings with the city’s parks department. Physical attributes of the zoo grounds and operations were analyzed and evaluated to identify all impacts on future planning and development efforts. Needs were identified through a series of meetings with the Zoological Society, Advisory Parks Board, Zoo staff, Parks Department, Advisory Task Force, and the community. A comprehensive list of ideas and concerns was developed and documented as 14 project Goals for Success. These project Goals for Success guided the project team when developing a list of space and facility needs. A two day public design workshop or “charrette” occurred in October 2014 and resulted in twelve potential master plan concepts. Through an analytical process of elimination and selection three concepts rose to the top and responded positively to the project Goals for Success. The three top concepts were merged into one to create a concept with a consensus of support from all participants. The preferred concept was developed and presented at an Advisory Park Board meeting in October 2014 and an updated version was presented in December 2014.
A final master plan, phasing plan, and associated construction cost is the framework upon which circulation, structures, and exhibit placement has been approved. It will guide future development and management efforts for the zoo. Future development will be driven by need and funding and reviewed by city and applicable boards prior to implementation.