Wilderness Falls, the new interactive water play area with a National Park theme, recently opened at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo. This exhibit area has several activities for kids to explore, play, and learn about local wildlife. Kids will find logs and boulders to climb, a sand pit in which to dig, as well as exciting water play elements. Standing high above the exhibit, the new lookout tower provides a birds-eye view of the surrounding area. Signage and structures carry a National Park theme.
The new simulated rock mountain resembles rock features found in South Yuba River State Park. It includes planter pockets, with indigenous plants, to shade the space. The rock feature also serves as a mechanical room for the water feature mechanical system. A cantilever rock outcropping allows children to stand underneath a waterfall. A constructed stream with a Wet Edge pool finish has a naturalistic pebble look, slip resistant, and easy on children’s’ feet. Geyser fountains spray water adjacent to the stream for added aquatic fun.
The nicely landscaped Wilderness Falls contains numerous seating locations for parents and children alike to rest during an event-filled day at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo. Educational displays highlight local wildlife. “Wilderness Falls is really a great space for kids; it will get a lot of use especially during the hot summer months”, says Kris Arneson, COST’s Project Manager. A video of Wilderness Falls can be found here.
Wilderness Falls follows in the footsteps of other highly successful zoo projects. In 2016, African Adventure was recognized by Engineering News-Record with a “Best Project” award. Sea Lion Cove received the 2014 “Top Honors Exhibit Award” by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association.
COST was contracted by Fresno-based Zumwalt Construction to build the main simulated rock mountain/pump room, stream, rock work seat walls, fountain geyser boulders, and to theme-paint access doors. A scale construction model was also provided to ensure rockwork accuracy. This model was approved by the team prior to construction. The project was designed by Robert Boro Landscape Architects. Find out more at https://www.fresnochaffeezoo.org/experiences/wilderness-falls/
Photo courtesy of Fresno Chaffee Zoo