via WDEL

Brandywine Zoo in Wilmington has made two of its popular attractions more accessible, just ahead of its spring opening weekend.

The state-owned zoo’s Eagle Ridge area had been one of the last parts of the zoo that wasn’t completely accessible to people who have physical disabilities and might use wheel chairs or other devices for mobility. It had uneven ground and the viewing area next to the eagle habitat was only reachable by steps.

It now features a sloped pathway and larger viewing platform to give visitors a close look at the eponymous birds, while also overlooking the river otter pen.

“It provides a beautiful platform for viewing and accessibility in a way this space in the zoo has never had before,” said Dave Small, Delaware’s secretary for the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

The state legislature appropriated $100,000 for the project at the zoo, which opened in 1905.

Governor Jack Markell (D) said during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the project that it shows an effort to improve quality of life in Wilmington.

“That’s why people want to be in any particular community. We need to make sure we have good jobs for people to work in but people want to work in places where they want to live,” he said.

The new walkway was completed just in time for the zoo’s opening weekend on Saturday.

State Rep. Charles Potter (D-Wilmington North) said it gives many families and younger visitors a good opportunity to see wildlife they might not otherwise encounter.

“This is great that we’re going to have accessibility for all the children,” he said. “That’s important.”