Planned to replace the original giraffe exhibit, the new giraffe facility was designed by PSC to offer personal, up-close interaction between visitors and giraffes. The second level feeding platform was designed to host education sessions with large groups of children attending during school field trips. Also, the second level serves as special event rental space for weddings, community events, and zoo fundraising functions.

Abilene Zoo Giraffe Exhibit from Parkhill, Smith & Cooper on Vimeo.

The upper feeding area is accessible by two gently sloping boardwalks; one for entering the exhibit, and one for exiting the exhibit, with animal observation areas at halfway points. The observation stations are large enough as gathering areas for docent discussions and demonstrations with zoo visitors. The lower level houses heated and ventilated animal holding areas for colobus monkeys, small hoofed animals, animal food preparation areas, and mechanical equipment.

Structural elements and finishes were selected to be durable yet respond to the zoo’s theming scheme including lumber pole structure, rough plywood paneling, native cedar and eucalyptus fencing and canopies.

The project also included a separate giraffe holding building and yard to house giraffes during inclement weather and breeding isolation.

Construction included approximately 2,400-square-foot, pre-engineered giraffe barn building; approximately 4,300-square-foot, two-story animal holding building and feeding pavilion; a 256-square-foot animal holding building, zoo exhibit facilities, landscaping, fencing, and site improvements.