After winning the USA Today’s Top Aquarium Award in June of 2022, one would think the Wonders of Wildlife Aquarium could rest on its laurels. However, the team at Wonders had no such intention and continues to roll out new and exciting exhibits for its guests. The most recent exhibit fabrication project is further described below.
The aquarium opened the new trout river and pond exhibit, adjacent to the American Museum of Fly Fishing entry. This exhibit immerses guests at a freshwater river’s edge somewhere in Missouri. As patrons approach the exhibit an acrylic panel allows underwater views of a muddy, rock laden riverbed, along with trout that reach 2’ long. A fallen tree snag forms the top framing of the view window while its deteriorating trunk anchors the surrounding rock and landform. Other fallen trees encircle the pond and are covered in shelf fungi. Shelf fungi are typically found growing on trees and fallen logs in damp wooded areas. Visitors see the continuation of a Missouri stream and waterfall which has been beautifully muraled in the background. The rockwork in the exhibit space is a combination of locally sourced Arkansas Limestone that blends seamlessly with the hand-carved artificial rockwork. Lichens were painted on both rock types to add more realism to the exhibit.
COST’s preconstruction team was contracted to assist with shop drawings and build the scale model for stakeholder review. Once approved, the tree stumps and logs were fabricated in the Jackson, WI plant and shipped to the Wonders of Wildlife for installation. COST field teams constructed the pond basin, installed the view window and theme tree/stump elements, and built the artificial and simulated rockwork for the exhibit. The field team also coordinated the life support system installation to ensure proper functionality and balanced/tested to optimize flow rates.
The COST field team is currently underway on the new Owl and Jellyfish Gallery Theatre exhibit fabrication work at Wonders of Wildlife. Both projects will also be opening in 2022. These projects will be updated in future news stories.