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