Philadelphia Zoo

KidZooU: Hamilton Family Children’s Zoo
and Faris Family Education Center

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

Project Size: 16,000 square feet
Designers: Cambridge Seven Associates

Parallel Play

Envisioning a zoo within a zoo, the Philadelphia Zoo renovated their former Elephant House to make room for the new 2.5 acres children’s zoo. Part educational facility, part children’s zoo; an indoor and outdoor experience teaches children how to protect and appreciate wildlife through close interaction with the animals. It features conservation stations and interactive exhibits that educate visitors how saving energy and recycling can help save wildlife. The outdoor exhibit area includes a barnyard and stables where kids can pet and brush sheep; a 400-foot trail for rare goats to roam; and a parallel structure where children can climb and mimic animal behavior or compare their climbing ability to a primate’s. A giant ant atop an anthill offers children an interactive crawl space, while a life-size recycling truck teaches children about recycling and protecting the environment. Interior exhibits include a water table, toddler play room, and eco-lab. Interactive elements are interspersed among live animal enclosures for budgies, butterflies, ants, and marine life.

Durable Enclosures

kubik maltbie was contracted to fabricate and install the indoor and outdoor play structures, graphics, animal enclosures, and teaching classrooms. The project posed an unusual challenge, requiring careful consideration of the animal habitats in selecting materials and in the fabrication process. Functionality and durability were high priorities, especially for the climbing tower and other play structures. The scope of work included: engineering, as built shop drawings, outdoor structures, animal enclosures, audio visual hardware, media, fabrication of exhibitry, interactives, shipping and installation on-site.