Lowry Park Zoo officials are asking the Tampa City Council to help the borrow money to make upgrades.
The council plans to take up the matter on Jan. 9.
The Tampa Tribune reports zoo officials want to get the upgrades, including a new veterinary hospital and feeding center, in place by early next year when the Association of Zoos and Aquariums will review the zoo's fitness.
The association last visited in 2010. They produced a list of improvements the zoo needed to make.
Officials hope the city, which owns the zoo, can help them borrow up to $6.5 million. In addition, they need to raise another $3 million to finish the upgrades.
The new hospital would replace the existing building, which opened 25 years ago and is too small.