Entry Plaza and Interactive Trail System – the Wander

Renderings by DIALOG

Project Stage:Completed
Opened: 2013
Budget: $34 million

The arrival experience to the Edmonton Valley Zoo has changed dramatically with the construction of the new Entry. The Entry Plaza provides easy and direct access to all of the zoo’s exhibit precincts. Included in the plaza is a new Education Centre which includes interpretive classrooms and multi-purpose spaces.The Entry Plaza also contains all the guest services: information, washrooms, ticket purchase windows, café, Zoo Store, administrative offices, and the new otter exhibit.In line with Edmonton’s vision to build smarter and with sustainable principles in mind, the zoo’s building takes advantage of natural light and air ventilation. Its features celebrate and harness green technologies that leave a small ecological footprint on the natural systems and wild places that the zoo is working so hard to conserve.

The Wander is the Edmonton Valley Zoo’s new central corridor that houses and interprets the plants and small animals of Alberta’s North Saskatchewan River Valley while providing opportunities for pubic education, shelter, transportation, and relaxation. The Wander serves as the main public pathway to new exhibit areas such as the recently completed Arctic Shores exhibit. There is also be a new river otter habitat in the entry plaza.

There is a water feature that allows children to interact with glacial melt-water, and play features along the river’s path.

The Wander will help to shape the future zoo, as it moves from the great heights of the Rocky Mountains falling swiftly from stone-filled mountain streams and pools, through wetlands and cobbled rivulets, to the gentle meanders of the Aspen Parkland’s and prairies of Alberta, this trail will be framed by the imposing story of Alberta’s natural history and the flora, fauna that have come to live in and shape this region.

The Wander provides ample room for guests to unhurriedly stroll through great mixed species native landscapes, enjoy engaging sculpture and art, picnic in the shade of large groves of Aspen trees, and observe free-range live animals. Each thematic area will be differentiated not only by the plantings and the interaction with water, but also through the use of interpretive elements.

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