Lincoln Park Polar Bear Underwater 1

Arctic Tundra Exhibits, Lincoln Park Zoo

The Lincoln Park Zoo recently opened the new $15 million Walter Family Arctic Tundra exhibit to the public. The new 11,000 square-foot exhibit includes both wet and dry Polar Bear habitats. The main view windows provide guests with a split-view from underwater and into the dry exhibit space from the same vantage point. Rock cliff waterfalls, a stream, and gradients terraced by shotcrete rock escarpment create unique terrain for the bears to explore. The cast concrete dive pool is embellished with naturalistic rockwork which formulates a seamless transition to the pool deck. The second southern viewing area is located within a replicated cave. The view window allows patrons a view of the entire exhibit. The ice cave area adds to the immersive feeling as an air cooling mechanism provides a chilly interior space.

The south shelter also includes a ten square-foot training wall where guests can witness keeper training sessions. Although the exhibit is currently only inhabited by one bear, it was designed to support a breeding pair and cubs.

COST of Wisconsin, Inc. services included shop drawings, scale models, engineering, and constructing the replicated rock and water features to simulate an arctic environment.

The project team also included Interactive Design Architects (IDEA), The Portico Group, and general contractor, Pepper Construction.