Location
  • Edmonton, AB
Client
  • City of Edmonton
Completion
2014
Sustainability
  • LEED® Silver certified
Collaborators
  • Ion Irrigation
  • Natural Systems International
  • Stuart Olson Construction
  • Studio Hansen Roberts
  • T.A. Maranda
DIALOG Services
  • Architecture
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Interior Design
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Structural Engineering
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Part of a series of upgrades to the Edmonton Valley Zoo that focuses on getting guests closer to nature in the heart of Edmonton's river valley, this project includes new entry and orientation plazas, a café, the Zootique gift shop, an education centre and guest services. A newly-designed central circulation path called The Wander tells the story of the North Saskatchewan River as guests move throughout the zoo. These upgrades drastically improve the first impression of the zoo, and set the stage for the whole experience of getting closer to nature.
The design of our entry plaza really follows suit with the vision of creating a vibrant new zoo. It's modern, but it keeps our ties to nature.
Heather Fedyna, Educational Interpreter
edmonton valley zoo design aerial site

Design Story 01

The zoo is located in the heart of Edmonton's river valley, beside a large public park on a bend of the North Saskatchewan River.

edmonton valley zoo design sketches dialog

Design Story 02

All of the buildings and landscape features echo the surrounding river valley and the Edmonton Valley Zoo's mandate to get closer to nature. They are designed to look and feel as though they emerged naturally from the valley.

edmonton valley zoo design entry

Design Story 03

As visitors approach, they're greeted with an impressive rammed earth wall. Designed to mirror the colored layers of the North Saskatchewan River banks, the wall is approximately 72 metres long and 60 centimetres thick, and it was the first of its kind to be used outdoors in a cold climate. The wall is exposed in one of the education centre's multi-purpose rooms.

edmonton valley zoo plaza design plan

Design Story 04

The entry plaza is a welcoming space for visitors and the community. Guests don’t have to pay admission to enjoy the plaza’s café and patio, gift shop, rest areas, and playful water features. They can even get a glimpse at the river otters playing—their habitat extends into the entry plaza. Families and cyclists using the nearby river valley parks and trails can stop in for a snack and water bottle refill.

edmonton valley zoo design wander site plan

Design Story 05

Designed in collaboration with Studio Hanson Roberts, the circulation path known as The Wander tells the story of the North Saskatchewan River, starting in the Rocky Mountain glaciers, trickling through the foothills and across Alberta’s Aspen Parkland before winding around the site of the zoo. Kids can climb on a glacier, run and explore through a maze of rocks, splash in wetland pools, and experience the world from inside a beaver dam. The Wander leads back to the entry plaza, where a sturgeon-themed water play feature is a popular spot for kids.

Evoke DIALOG | Edmonton Valley Zoo Entry and Wander

Learn more about how the new entry plaza, visitor services and education centre, cafe, gift shop, and central circulation path reflects the zoo’s focus on getting close to nature while fitting in with their natural surroundings.

edmonton valley zoo design plaza2

Awards

2015 Award of Excellence - Regional Merit, Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CSLA)