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The Columbus Zoo’s Heart of Africa

The Columbus Zoo’s Heart of Africa

PGAV Destinations provided full architectural services – from concept design through construction administration – for Heart of Africa, a 43-acre expansion of the beloved Columbus Zoo. This massive undertaking combines a fully immersive and grand setting with up-close interactions to convey conservation stories to guests. Demonstrations and keeper chats ensure that one-on-one interactions maximize educational potential.

The new exhibit is home to a variety of species including giraffes, lions, cheetahs, gazelles, impalas, zebras, ostriches, and monkeys. Multiple savanna yards allow flexibility of herd populations, and a unique enrichment yard for a wide variety of animals changes throughout the day.

The site includes numerous unique aspects including a Beechcraft Model 18 airplane that sits partially in a lion habitat, the Mapori Restaurant, which gives guests excellent views into the lion habitat, and a themed “village” for retail, which tells the story of a community rising to support the new tourist industry visiting the National Park.

Awards and Achievements

  • AZA Top Honor in Design (2015)
  • ENR Midwest Best Cultural Project (2015)
  • Experience Columbus EXPY Award (2014)
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