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Legacy project: Creature comforts, viewer enhancements for black bears at Minnesota Zoo

The Minnesota Zoo turned to CNH Architects for its environmental design to create a Black Bear Exhibit and home for three young black bears. It has a Minnesota Northwoods feel.

Built on a steep site and sandwiched between the existing Tropics building, bald eagle exhibit, Minnesota Trail and public trails, the site had challenges.

Considerations were given for the comfort of the bears, the security of the public and the zoo staff which added to the complexity, explains CNH Principal and Lead Architect Wayne Hilbert. The construction also required solid foundations to accommodate the strength of mature bears.

Using a design with low maintenance materials and multiple caging areas helps staff to more easily care for the bears.

The design also needed to engage the public with water features, a viewing cave, heated rocks, secure glass, plantings and of course, the bears. It was fun,” said Hilbert. -Learn more-

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