Van H. Gilbert Architect PC

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Zoos + Aquariums

Albuquerque Aquarium (Phase II)
Albuquerque Biological Park, New Mexico

The 320,000 gallon Pacific South Seas and Great Barrier Reef Exhibit will display the colorful and diverse fish found in the vicinity of the Great Barrier Reef and other reefs of the South Pacific. The exhibit tank will brim with tropical fish, larger species, and a few small sharks. The Great Barrier Reef, one of the “seven natural wonders of the world,” is really a collection of over 2,500 separate reefs. This exhibit, displaying the wonders of the Reef, will excite the imagination of all visitors.

Antarctic Penguin Exhibit
Albuquerque Biological Park, New Mexico

The new, multi-level, Antarctic Penguin Exhibit is home to Gentoo and King Penguins. With 52,000 gallons of saltwater, a simulated rocky shoreline with large rock outcroppings, and a chilly temperature of 34 degrees Fahrenheit, the Exhibit replicates the penguin’s native Antarctic environment. The exhibits glass floor provides visitors with a unique opportunity to peer into the water and witness the speed, fluid grace, and playful antics of the 36 penguin residents.

Albuquerque Aquarium (Phase I)
Albuquerque Biological Park, New Mexico

Since opening its doors, the Albuquerque Aquarium, along with the entire Biopark (Zoo and Botanical Gardens), consistently registers the greatest number of visitors of all public attractions in New Mexico. The Aquarium serves many functions, none more important than the community’s opportunity to explore and learn about the underwater world that lies far beyond the State’s borders.

Sea Lion Exhibit
Tulsa Zoo, Oklahoma

Working in tandem with multiple entities at the Tulsa Zoo, the design of this new exhibit focused on providing the optimum habitat for these large mammals with a focus on an educational and entertaining viewer experience. Large underwater viewing windows, a variety of at-grade observation stations, and an island performance platform all combine to afford the visitor ample opportunities to enjoy the languid swimmers in their natural habitat.

Bandshell and Lake
Albuquerque Biological Park, New Mexico

The Bandshell is nestled within a canopy of old growth cottonwood trees in the center of the Zoo. Designed to provide a community gathering space for summer musical performances the Bandshell is dramatic and flowing in its design. Surrounded by a man-made lake, the Bandshell seemingly floats as the reflection of the lake dances on the shell’s acoustic overhang, presenting an ever changing visual kaleidoscope to accompany the music.

Sea Lion Exhibit
El Paso Zoo, Texas

The Sea Lion Exhibit with its 20 foot deep pool and rocky cliffs and shoreline is home to ten California Sea Lions and Harbor Seals. The exhibit area and swimming tank provide sufficient space to allow the sea lions to swim and dive with vigor. Shallow pools serve as cool and shaded rest areas for the seals. A presentation staging area with shaded audience seating allows the keepers to highlight the natural abilities of the seals in educational and entertaining presentations.

Primate Exhibit
Albuquerque Biological Park, New Mexico

Boulders, vegetation, and a spring of gurgling water emptying into an idyllic pond transport the visitor to the wilds of Africa. The first step in providing a new exhibit and natural habitat for the Zoo’s gorillas and orangutans was to develop a master plan to address the long range plans for expanding the primate population.

Bird of Prey Exhibit
Albuquerque Biological Park, New Mexico

Sited in the midst of a grove of cottonwood trees, the south facing, curved Bird of Prey Exhibit is home to a pair of bald eagles, several species of hawks, and vultures. The cottonwood trees provide shade for the birds in the hot southwestern summers and in the winter when the trees drop their leaves the sun provides the needed heat for the comfort of the birds. Each of the five exhibit spaces provides for the species particular needs for flying space, perch heights, breeding/nesting sites, and feeding areas.

Hippo Exhibit
Albuquerque Biological Park, New Mexico

The Hippo Exhibit includes an indoor/outdoor holding area for 4 hippos with a filtered and ozonated exhibit pool of 180,000 gallons of water. The pool has a gradual depth from 0 to 6 feet. There are 3 naturalized waterfalls that fill the pool and provide water aeration. This exhibit was designed by VHGA Architect Ray Darnell while working for the City of Albuquerque.

Adventure Africa
Albuquerque Biological Park, New Mexico

Adventure Africa is an expansive, 6-acre exhibit that houses chimpanzees, cheetahs, a large walk-through bird aviary, african hunting dogs, wart hogs, red river hogs, This and several small mammal species. The exhibit includes restrooms, a gift shop, a train station, and food facilities. This exhibit was designed by VHGA Architect Ray Darnell while working for the City of Albuquerque.

Koala Creek
Albuquerque Biological Park, New Mexico

This exhibit contains several bird species, fish, reptiles, and amphibians that surround the main attraction; Koalas. The exhibit entry is through a billabong with 100 free-flying budgaris. The Koalas are housed in two climate controlled enclosures, complete with an outback research station and a lorikeet feeding area. This exhibit was designed by VHGA Architect Ray Darnell while working for the City of Albuquerque.

Polar Bear Exhibit
Albuquerque Biological Park, New Mexico

The Polar Bear Exhibit has off-exhibit holding for up to four animals with an off-exhibit pool. The exhibit area contains five waterfalls and a 12-foot deep, 100,000-gallon pool. There are four underwater viewing windows as well as viewing from above. This exhibit was designed by VHGA Architect Ray Darnell while working for the City of Albuquerque.

Elephant Exhibit
Albuquerque Biological Park, New Mexico

The Elephant Exhibit has a cow-barn with four large stalls and a separate bull-barn to house two bulls. There are both on-exhibit and off-exhibit yards for elephants. Special features include raised platform viewing for the public. The exhibit has two pools for elephants, one of which is deep enough for the animals to swim. There are three separate enclosures all with many animal enrichment activies to help eliminate stereotypic behavior. This exhibit was designed by VHGA Architect Ray Darnell while working for the City of Albuquerque.

Veterinary Facilities
Albuquerque Biological Park, New Mexico

These facilities include off-exhibit enclosures, providing flexibility to house hoof-stock, large mammals, birds, and many smaller species in quarantine habitats. The building also features offices, laboratories, a sterile surgery room, a prep-room, an x-ray room, a necropsy room, and food prep/storage. This facility was designed by VHGA Architect Ray Darnell while working for the City of Albuquerque.

Giraffe Exhibit
Albuquerque Biological Park, New Mexico

This exhibit features two separate half-acre exhibit areas and a large public viewing area that permits feeding. The barn houses as many as six animals with several indoor enclosures, animal restraint capabilities, and loading and unloading areas. Special features include an air handling system that moves hot air from the ceiling to the floor, non-slip surfaces for the animals, special veterinary doors, and special feeding areas. This exhibit was designed by VHGA Architect Ray Darnell while working for the City of Albuquerque.