The Arizona Center for Nature Conservation (ACNC)/Phoenix Zoo is debuting its new Wild Side Gallery by welcoming the renowned National Geographic exhibit in collaboration with the Grand Canyon Trust; "Between River and Rim: Hiking Across the Grand Canyon."

Pete McBride, photographer and filmmaker, along with Kevin Fedarko, author of "Emerald Mile," will share their journey of nearly 800 trail-less miles through the heart of the Grand Canyon from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 2. Their presentation was featured in National Geographic magazine as well as a national tour of the National Geographic LIVE series. McBride and Fedarko will highlight the beauty of the canyon and the threats they discovered along the way.

The ticketed event will begin with a presentation in the zoo’s Doornbos Wildlife Amphitheater and book signings will follow at the Wild Side Gallery, featuring McBride’s stunning photography exhibit from the adventure. There will also be a ribbon cutting celebration related to the opening of the gallery. Tickets to this exclusive evening event may be purchased for $50 HERE.

Zoo officials said they are renovating its 1970s Activity Center into a visionary new venue, the Wild Side Gallery. A classic building originally designed by famed Valley architect William Cartmell, the Wild Side Gallery honors a mid-century modern style and will showcase artwork in over 2,400 square feet of climate-controlled space. The new space will also serve as the zoo’s first dedicated venue to the rotating exhibits of Art on the Wild Side, a program focused on inspiration, celebration and conservation through art. The zoo currently exhibits artwork in the Savanna Gallery/Grill and will continue to do so.

“The new space has long been utilized at the zoo for a variety of purposes, originally built as an education center, but most recently used for behind-the-scenes workspace,” said President and CEO Bert Castro. “Realizing the potential that this building had to be redesigned with a goal to inspire our guests through art, presented an opportunity we wanted to seize. We look forward to bringing a variety of artistic exhibits, interactive activities and learning opportunities for our guests to enjoy as they visit the gallery and the zoo.”

Entry to the Wild Side Gallery will be included with general daytime admission or zoo membership starting Friday, Feb. 3. The gallery is located just inside the zoo’s main entrance within the Arizona Trail and will be open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.  More hours will be added in time.

The transformation of the building is just the first phase of the project as there are plans to restore the original north façade of the building after decades old add-ons were built.

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