One of the first children to see the new elephant exhibit Thursday was 6-year-old Joseph Castellanos.
The little boy’s dad, Jose Castellanos, was pushing two smaller kids in a stroller, as Joseph walked alongside him in a blue fleece jacket.
When asked if the kids wanted to come or if it was Jose's choice, he said, "He wanted to come. He said I wanna go see the elephant.”
“Because I’ve never seen them," said Joseph. Joseph is a home-schooled kindergartener.
"Because I like elephants. Because they’re strong."
The 6-acre exhibit offers nearly 4 acres of roaming space and can hold a dozen elephants. Three live here now: Billy, Jewel and Tina.
Some animal rights activists are suing the zoo; they want to close down the exhibit. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals calls the zoo’s new Pachyderm Forest a monumental waste of $42 million that will do little to improve the lives of elephants.