PGAV Destinations has announced it is working on Expedition Africa – the largest habitat expansion project for Oklahoma City Zoo in its 120-year history.
The first phase of the African savanna region is ongoing in a spacious 14-acre site in the heart of the Zoo. Guests will experience a welcoming entry, providing a beautiful viewpoint over the new savanna. The project, estimated to cost $25 million, is the fruition of years of planning.
The renovated space will provide an extended and more immersive habitat for species native to Africa including giraffes, elands, okapis, ostriches, painted dogs, cheetahs, red river hogs, and lemurs.
Executive director and CEO for Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, Dr Dwight Lawson says “Less than one-tenth of one percent of all Americans will ever visit the African continent. Expedition Africa is designed to immerse visitors into a space where guests can connect with the wildlife of Africa in an unforgettable way and be inspired to help them thrive.”
From old to new
Expedition Africa will also feature a state-of-the-art giraffe barn, providing indoor viewing areas for guests year-round. The existing pachyderm habitat building, a historical and architectural asset for the Zoo, will be transformed into a new multipurpose event space, small animal habitat space, and children’s play zone.
PGAV Destinations Architectural Designer, Dexter Hansen says “Repurposing this historic building from a home for elephants and rhinos to a guest event space along with giraffe feeding, savanna viewing, small animal exhibits, and children’s play zone has kept the team creatively challenged.
“The design reimagines the spaces while retaining the features that will be nostalgic for long-time zoo-goers.”
The design team worked on-site to repurpose as much material as possible, from the existing grades to site features. The Zoo felt it was crucial to retain as many trees as possible, a selection of which are award-winning and have historical significance.
The site design, therefore, minimizes tree removal by working outside of tree canopies and administering extensive tree protection to support their survival. In the case of any trees that had to be removed, their trunks and limbs will be positioned within habitats as climbing structures and environmental enrichment devices for the wildlife.
Expedition Africa is scheduled to open in Spring 2023.
About PGAV Destinations
PGAV Destinations is a global leader in the planning and design of unique destinations. Now entering its sixth decade, the practice has evolved to become the ideal destination-consulting partner, skilled at developing growth-oriented master plans and translating those plans into successful projects. No other firm offers such an integrated approach to destination planning.
PGAV Destinations’ key clients include industry leaders such as Delaware North Companies, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, the Biltmore Companies, Bass Pro Shops, Ameristar Casinos, Universal Studios, The Gettysburg Foundation, the Saint Louis Zoo, and many others. Recent assignments include planning and design at many of the world’s “must see” destinations, including the Grand Canyon, Biltmore Estate, Space Shuttle Atlantis, The Alamo, National Air & Space Museum, Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, the Georgia Aquarium, the Hoover Dam, and SeaWorld Adventure Parks. www.PGAVDestinations.com
About Oklahoma City Zoo
The Oklahoma City Zoo: Oklahoma’s premier destination connecting people and our world’s vanishing wildlife and wild places. The OKC Zoo is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Located at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35, the OKC Zoo is a proud member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the American Alliance of Museums, Oklahoma City’s Adventure District and an Adventure Road partner. Stay connected with the Zoo on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and TikTok, and by visiting our blog stories. Zoo fans can support the OKC Zoo by becoming a ZOOfriends member. Starting at $45, memberships can be purchased at ZOOfriends.org and provide access to the OKC Zoo for an entire year plus, additional benefits and discounts. To learn more about Zoo happenings, call (405) 424-3344 or visit okczoo.org.