Construction of the bobcat exhibit scheduled to open next fall at could begin at the end of the month, after park district officials approved a construction firm's bid for the project Wednesday night.
Parks officials accepted the lowest bid of $600,000 from , the Wheaton firm that completed renovations at Northside Park, according to a park district staff report. However, Park District Executive Director Mike Benard said Wednesday that the revised estimate for the project is $700,000, exceeding the original budget of $525,000.
The district will also receive $300,000 from an Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) grant when the project is completed, according to a district staff report.
Pending the Cosley Foundation board's approval of the costs at an Apr. 25 meeting, construction will begin Tuesday, Apr. 30 and end Aug. 15, according to the report.
About the exhibit
The Cosley Foundation has been raising money to construct a facility for the exhibit, which will be located in place of the zoo's current amphitheater in the northwest corner of the zoo, according to the Cosley Zoo website.
Benard said the zoo will have two bobcats.
What is a bobcat?
The nocturnal animals are rarely spotted by humans, according to the National Geographic website, but they adapt well to diverse habitats, including forests, swamps and suburban areas.
Here are some quick bobcat facts, according to the Cosley Zoo website:
- They are carnivorous mammals, with an average life span of 10-12 years
- They're about twice the size of the average housecat and weigh 11 to 30 lbs
- They are the most abundant wildcat in the U.S.
- Long legs, large paws, tufted ears, brown or brown-red with a white belly and short, black tail.
- Named for it's "bobbed" tail
- Fierce hunters, often kill prey bigger than themselves
For more information, click to visit the National Geographic website.
In February, Cosley Zoo held a contest to name the new bobcat mascot in anticipation of the upcoming exhibit. After more than 80 names were submitted, the winning name for the mascot was Bentley.
Bentley the bobcat will make appearances at these park district events throughout the summer:
- , Apr. 21, 10 am–1 pm, Graf Park on Manchester Rd., Wheaton
- Day of the Young Child Ice Cream Social, Apr. 27, 6:30–8:30 pm, Community Center
- Party for the Planet, Apr. 28, 11 am–1 pm, Cosley Zoo
- World Turtle Day, May 19, 11 am–1 pm
- Taste of Wheaton, Ribbon Cutting, May 31, 5:00–6:30 pm, Memorial Park, Downtown Wheaton
- Cosley Zoo's 5K/10K Run for the Animals and Zippity Zoo Run, June 2, 7:30–10:00 am, Memorial Park, Downtown Wheaton
- Taste of Wheaton, June 2, 1–3 pm, Memorial Park, Downtown Wheaton
- Wheaton's Fireworks, July 3, Graf Park on Manchester Rd., Wheaton
- Wheaton's 4th of July Parade, July 4, Downtown Wheaton