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Chehaw working on park improvements

Photo by Barry Levine

Photo by Barry Levine

ALBANY -- In addition to launching its new website, Chehaw representatives said guests of the park can look forward to other modern touches in the coming months.

Chehaw Executive Director Doug Porter said the improvements are part of the park's ongoing image campaign.

In October 2009 the former Parks at Chehaw unveiled a new brand and name and is now operating simply as Chehaw: Nature's Playground.

The park's website now features the modern logo of stylized feathers and the new tagline with sleek menus and an earthy color palette. The site's URL has also been changed to www.chehaw.org, but the park's old web address of parksatchehaw.org still redirects visitors to the new site.

"The first part was getting it up and getting the look how we wanted," said Porter of the park's website. "It is a more modern, up-to-date website that also serves as an interactive tool for us."

Chehaw staff members say they will continue working to make the new website more user friendly and interactive.

"We plan on making a place where people can pay for camping fees or make reservations online," said Porter.

Those that frequently drive pass Chehaw may have noticed the park has removed its old sign. Porter said new signs will be installed next week that reflect the parks updated image.

The park is also in the process of installing fiber optic cable to provide guests with wi-fi access for those that choose to bring their laptops.

"We plan on having the Wi-Fi hotspots in certain areas of the park so that people can bring their laptops and be able to use the Internet," said Porter.

The executive director also said the park plans use the fiber optic wiring to install web cameras in some of the animal exhibits at the park -- particularly the new meerkat exhibit. Meerkats are known to be very social creatures and have already been featured in Animal Planet's popular "Meerkat Manor" television show.

Porter said the web cameras will be able to record live video from the exhibits that curious guests can view on the park's website.

The new Meerkat Maze, an interactive play area for children located at the parks meerkat exhibit, has also been completed and is now open to the public.

According to the park's website, the play area replicates an actual meerkat habitat creating a fun, educational experience for children. The maze will demonstrate meerkat social life and their typical living arrangements by highlighting their dens, lookout points, and burrows.

Porter said he hopes the improvements to the park will push Chehaw into the future.

"It is all part of the modernization process," he said. "We are trying to drag the park into the 21st century."

Chehaw is one of only two zoos in Georgia accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Chehaw also includes a BMX bicycle race track, 18-hole disc golf course, wild trails for walkers and runners and one of the largest playgrounds in the state.