March Of The Penguins, Swimming Of The Otters, And 4 Continents!

The BioPark, with its zoo, aquarium and botanical gardens, is the number one tourist attraction in the State of New Mexico.

What is “happening at Zoo” is worth taking notice.


Bio Park Zoo Director Dr. Baird Fleming announced big plans for a 5-acre plot of land on the ABQ zoo’s northwest corner.

The Bio Park Zoo is in the process of planning a $20 million “Asia exhibit” and it will include new and currently housed animals.

According to Dr. Fleming:

“It’s going to be a place where we’re going to re-house our resident orangutans, our tiger, our snow leopard and siamang, basically any species we have from Asia in general. … We hope that people, when they’re coming into this area, are going to see what looks a lot like an Asian market.”

The new Asia exhibit is part of a grand “master plan” to convert the zoo into geographic regions of Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas.

The intent is for the new exhibit to educate and entertain.

For Channel 4 news coverage see:


The first time Albuquerque tried to bring penguins to the zoo was when David Rusk was Mayor and for the last 10 years the city has been working on a plan.

The $12 million Penguin Chill exhibit at the Albuquerque BioPark Zoo is now complete and it will open soon.

The Penguin Exhibit is a massive exhibit.

The exhibit will hold more than 30 penguins of three different species.

It will have two floors from which to see the birds on land and in water, seven viewing areas including a glass floor and egg incubation rooms.

The main gallery features a 55-foot-wide and 8-foot-tall panoramic view of the penguins’ home.

The educational aspect of the exhibit is a major focus.

The exhibit has an “Education Gallery”, currently available and features interactive touch screens as large as a table, as well as several smaller tablets on which guests can play games and learn about the penguins.

Corrales-based tech firm Ideum is the BioPark’s high-tech partner that created programs and activities specifically for Penguin Chill exhibit.
For a full and expanded story see:


The new “River Otter Habitat” is now open at the zoo.

The otter habitat is at the aquarium and was built at a cost of $2.7 million in joint funding from the city, county, state, the New Mexico BioPark Society, Southwest Capital Bank and BioPark gross receipts tax enacted in 2015.

The habitat is the home to two 4-year-old female otters named Chaos and Mayhem.

River otters generally measure 3-4 feet long, can weigh up to 20 pounds and can live for about 10 years in captivity.

Many years ago the, the Rio Grande zoo had otters, but the enclosure was quite small and eventually close and demolished.

The new River Otter Habitat is off the aquarium main lobby on the south side of the building.

The River Otter Habitat features a 25,000 gallon pool inside a 3,000-square-foot sloping exhibit space.

A slide at the top of the slope allows Chaos and Mayhem to glide into their crystal-clear freshwater pool.

The Otter Habitat Exhibit contains multi-angle, above ground viewing areas, and underwater viewing panels in the exhibition space below the main floor.

Interactive and educational displays provide information about the otters.

The exhibit space is heavily planted with native New Mexico vegetation intended to mimic the riparian environment of the Rio Grande Gorge area.

In the early 1950s, river otters in New Mexico were driven to extinction by pelt trappers and by fishermen who sought to eliminate them, believing the otters were eating sport fish, which was proven false.

Jim Stuart, a specialist with the state Department of Game and Fish said that from 2008 to 2010, 33 trapped “nuisance” otters from other states were reintroduced into the Rio Pueblo de Taos, a tributary of the Rio Grande.

Since the reintroductions, the otters have been breeding and expanding their range.
For the full and expanded story see:


Albuquerque cannot be just a cop on every corner, a fire truck on every street, a jail in every quadrant, a garbage dumpster at every turn, streets without potholes and buses like ART that no one can use because the city has bought lemons.

Any truly great city must include facilities that enhance the quality of life of its citizens, such as libraries, zoos, museums and aquariums, facilities that the ABQ Biopark represents.

The Rio Grande Zoo has gone from rows of simple chain link fenced cages and bar cages in the 1960’s to state-of-the-art open facilities in the present day.

The entire BioPark with the zoo, aquarium and botanical gardens is one of the finest attractions of its kind in the country.

In 1987 the Albuquerque City Council engaged in a process of public hearings to determine and identify what type of facilities and projects were needed for a thriving city that would enhance our quality of life and make Albuquerque an attractive City to raise a family.

By a unanimous, bipartisan vote, the Albuquerque City Council enacted the “Quality of Life” legislation that resulted in the construction of the Albuquerque Aquarium, the Albuquerque Children’s Science Museum, the Botanical Gardens and the Balloon Museum.

The “Quality of Life” legislation funded the acquisition of critical open space with open land acquisitions completing the final phase of what forms the backbone of our “urban parks”.

During the 2015 municipal election, Albuquerque voters wisely approved with an overwhelming majority the voter petition drive initiative to increase the gross receipts tax for the BioPark.

The gross receipts tax initiative for the BioPark was needed because some $20 million dollars plus in repairs and maintenance to the facilities are needed and major repairs were ignored for eight years.

There are $40 million dollars in upgrades and exhibits needed to the BioPark facilities and without making those repairs, the city risks losing many national certifications.

The tax will raise $255 million dollars over 15 years for the BioPark.

In passing the gross receipts tax, voters decided to invest in their community and themselves and bypass the Mayor and the City Council.

The next 15 years will indeed be exciting times for the Bio Park when after all improvements are done and when we will see the exhibits reflecting the geographic regions of Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas.

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Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.