Sunday, July 28, 2013

Safari Africa Columbus Zoo Update 7-28-13

New Safari Africa building behind the bear.
Safari Africa will be the Columbus Zoo’s most ambitious and expansive region to date and will evoke the real world experience of an African safari. 43 acres will be transformed into a thrilling savanna where zebras and giraffes will roam and animal expert Jack Hanna will be your “virtual” tour guide. The area will feature a village plaza where African culture comes to life through crafts, performances, and food. Up-close animal encounters the whole family can enjoy will include giraffe feeding, cheetah runs, and camel rides.

The Columbus Zoo recently released a few videos on YouTube with some additional information about Safari Africa. At the beginning of July the very first animals who will be roaming the savannah arrived at the zoo. The mixed species habitat will include ten Thompson gazelles, including these two little ones:

Here's an older video from May but it shows some behind the scenes construction on the new African lion exhibit (anyone have any idea what is going to go in the old lion enclosure? The clouded leopards maybe?):

And finally we get a glimpse of the savannah itself and an interactive termite mound that will reside there.

I visited the zoo today and noticed several new buildings in Safari Africa are now visible from a couple of different vantage points. The biggest building can be seen to your left before entering the Polar Frontier region and appears to be the new dining facility.
New Safari Africa building, probably for dining.

The grand opening of Safari Africa at the Columbus Zoo is in summer 2014 - less than a year away!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Zoo Design: PGAV Destinations Interview

The Season Pass Podcast recently posted a great interview with PGAV Destinations - a themed entertainment design firm that has worked on numerous theme park, zoos, aquarium, and science center projects. They're currently working on Safari Africa at the Columbus Zoo. The main focus of the interview is their relationship with the Busch (now SeaWorld Entertainment) parks. Some of the topics they touched on in their hour long discussion:

pgav destinations safari africa
  • How they helped rebrand Six Flags as Discovery Kingdom
  • Georgia Aquarium exhibits use projections
  • The perfect picture location on the Manta coaster at Sea World Orlando
  • Mixing guests, rides, and animals
  • The challenges of building within Sea World San Diego ‘s40 foot height limit
  • Designing ”mail box moments” (or Facebook moments)
  • An awesome photo opportunity at the lion exhibit in Busch Gardens Tampa
  • Glacier Run at Louisville Zoo
Click here to check it out now. If you have any interest in zoo design you should definitely give this a listen!