Animals from the Pampas region of Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil will soon have a new home at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport.

The new Pampas Plains exhibit is considered phase one of the zoo's South American Adventure exhibit.

Zoo Director Gregg Dancho said the most exciting part of the new facility “is that we will be one of only a handful of zoos in the United States to exhibit Vicuña, the smallest South American relative of the camel and llama.

"Vicuña have not been on exhibit in the United States in 20 years,” Dancho said. “Likewise, we have not had giant anteaters at our zoo in over 30 years. This is an incredible opportunity for our visitors to see these graceful animals up close and personal."

In addition to Vicuña and Giant anteaters, the new Pampas Plains South American exhibit will feature Chacoan peccaries and greater rhea, as well as plants and grasses native to this South American region.

Raised walkway

A raised walkway is planned, which will offer panoramic views as well as a glimpse into the animals' distinctive habitats.

Guests will find giant anteaters foraging in termite mounds and will learn how different feeding adaptations, like the anteater's long snout and tongue, help animals to thrive in varied environments.

Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch said he enjoys seeing children “in awe at all the animals and exhibits” at the state’s only zoo, and he’s “excited that the zoo is growing and getting better every day."

About CT’s Beardsley Zoo

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is open daily from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Adult admission (ages 12 older) is $14, children (ages 3 -11) and senior admission (62 and older) is $10, and children under 3 years old are free. Zoo members also are admitted free. There is no charge to park at the zoo

The zoo features 300 animals representing primarily North and South American species. This includes Amur (Siberian) tigers, Brazilian ocelot, red wolves, and golden lion tamarins.

Other highlights at the facility are the South American rainforest and free-flight aviary; prairie dog exhibit with “pop-up” viewing areas; New England Farmyard with goats, cows, pigs, sheep and other barnyard critters; hoofstock trail with bison, pronghorn and deer; indoor carousel, and outdoor picnic grove.

— as edited by Brad Durrell for the Shelton Herald