Entry Plaza & Wander Trail System
New Entry Plaza and Interactive Trail System – the Wander (Opening 2013)
Project stage: Construction
Budget: $34 million
The arrival experience to the Edmonton Valley Zoo will change dramatically with the construction of the new Entry. The Entry Plaza will provide easy and direct access to all of the zoo’s exhibit precincts.
Included in the plaza is a new Education Centre which will include 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 will take advantage of natural light and air ventilation, and features will 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 being planned as the Edmonton Valley Zoo’s new central corridor that will house and interpret the plants and small animals of Alberta’s North Saskatchewan River Valley while providing opportunities for pubic education, shelter, transportation, and relaxation. The Wander will serve as the main public pathway to the new exhibit areas as they develop, including the Arctic Shores exhibit anticipated to open in early 2012. There will also be a new river otter habitat in the entry plaza.
There will be a water feature that will allow children to interact with glacial meltwater, 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 Parklands 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 will provide ample room for guests to unhurriedly stroll through great mixed species native landscapes, enjoying engaging sculpture and art, picnicking in the shade of large groves of Aspen trees, or observing 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.