Thursday, November 30, 2023

ELM Completes Master Plan For South Dakota’s Bramble Park Zoo

Seattle, WA, USA (February 28, 2012) /PRWEB/ —  ELM , a Seattle, Washington and Jacksonville, Florida based design and planning firm, completed the Bramble Park Zoo‘s master plan that strategically integrates the zoo’s four newly acquired acres into the overall site and positions the zoo as a strong regional destination.

Two principals of the ELM firm conducted the entire master planning process onsite in Watertown, South Dakota in collaboration with the leaders of the zoo team, members of the zoo board and the city. The new master plan guides the evolution of the zoo, which has a total of 19 acres including the four newly acquired acres, along with 800 animals representing 150 different species. With the master plan complete, the first two projects, estimated at $1.8 million, are in the final stages of design with construction set to begin in June.

“During our onsite planning sessions, we kept the doors wide open to ensure the zoo staff, zoo board, city leaders, and even visitors had input throughout the process. We did all the work there in front of the client,” said Christopher Overdorf, principal with ELM. “We developed a master plan that was shaped by a collaborative effort with direct input, from the zoo team to local conservation groups to the Mayor and even school children who were visiting the zoo. The children’s input was priceless as they openly shared their thoughts on what would be boring or fantastic.”

The first two projects that the master plan outlines are the development of a new walk-through otter habitat, as well as a children’s family fun farm. The new master plan will improve operational efficiencies, support a fun, engaging experience for its visitors, and expand how the Bramble Park Zoo will forward their conservation education message. For example, the design team partnered with the local technical institute to build a wind turbine scaled for the site, incorporating the long history of wind power utilized by local farmers. As a result, the icon of the children’s zone will be a 130-year-old windmill donated by a local farmer.


ELM is a leading Environmental Design practice that creates sustainable, inspired places for people. The firm’s leadership, innovation and collaborative spirit is applied to the disciplines of planning, architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, interiors and environmental graphics. ELM’s commitment to design, sustainability and a multidisciplinary perspective brings value to national and international, urban, mixed-use, destination resort, residential, zoological and aquaria, education, civic, cultural and strategic conservation projects.
Joe Kleiman
Joe Kleiman
Raised in San Diego on theme parks, zoos, and IMAX films, InPark's Senior Correspondent Joe Kleiman would expand his childhood loves into two decades as a projectionist and theater director within the giant screen industry. In addition to his work in commercial and museum operations, Joe has volunteered his time to animal husbandry at leading facilities in California and Texas and has played a leading management role for a number of performing arts companies. Joe previously served as News Editor and has remained a contributing author to InPark Magazine since 2011. HIs writing has also appeared in Sound & Communications, LF Examiner, Jim Hill Media, The Planetarian, Behind the Thrills, and MiceChat His blog, takes an unconventional look at the attractions industry. Follow on twitter @ThemesRenewed Joe lives in Sacramento, California with his wife, dog, and a ghost.

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