St. Louis, MO, USA (September 3, 2013) — PGAV Destinations has been announced as the architects and exhibit designers for the Saint Louis Zoo’s new $15 million McDonnell Polar Bear Point.
Construction began Tuesday, September 3, 2013 at the Zoo while Penguin & Puffin Coast, also designed by PGAV Destinations, will be temporarily closed until 2015 when the new polar bear habitat will be completed.
“It’s thrilling to be working with the Saint Louis Zoo on what will yet again be an excellent project,” says PGAV Destinations VP John Kemper. “The Zoo will premiere a state-of-the-art habitat that enhances a beloved historic exhibit, featuring dynamic experiences like witnessing a polar bear swim underwater!”
The new attraction will cover more than 7,000 square feet and feature up to five polar bears including a walk-through cave that will provide exciting up-close opportunities for guests to view polar bears above and below water. Visitors will be able to watch the progress of the construction through convenient “portholes” around the site.
PGAV Destinations’ most recent project with the Saint Louis Zoo is award-winning Sea Lion Sound, which Dana Brown President & CEO Jeffrey P. Bonner, Ph.D. cited as a key component of the Zoo’s record attendance in 2012.
The destination design and consulting firm is a nationally –recognized expert for one of the most popular animal attractions – polar bears. The PGAV Destinations-designed Glacier Run at the Louisville Zoo won the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ top design award in 2012. The immersive exhibit recreates a Churchill, Alaska-like outpost on the fringe of the arctic wilderness, providing a number of unique and exciting ways for guests to engage with polar bears, seals, sea lions, and grizzly bears.
PGAV Destinations-designed Great Bear Wilderness opened at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago in 2010, a 7.5-acre expanse which features the cultural significance, history, and survival challenges of polar bears. The zoo’s largest exhibit ever undertaken, Great Bear Wilderness also incorporates grizzly bears, bison, eagles, and Mexican gray wolves.
Polar Bear Passage opened at the Kansas City Zoo in 2010, also designed by PGAV Destinations. Full of recreated glaciers, interactive exhibits, and above-and-below water viewing, this 10,000 sq. ft. habitat is home to seven-year-old Nikita, born at the Toledo Zoo and named after a Russian polar bear researcher.
PGAV Destinations was also involved in SeaWorld’s Wild Arctic attraction in both Orlando and San Diego, each featuring polar bears. Guests have the opportunity to participate in a rich media attraction in which they board the White Thunder helicopter and experience an adventure in the Arctic including animal tracking and winter storms. After the ride, guests explore the habitats of polar bears, beluga whales, and walruses, and learn about the plight of their valuable Arctic ecosystem.