Saint Louis Zoo – River’s Edge Addition

One-acre of undeveloped land in the center of the River’s Edge zone at the Saint Louis Zoo was originally planned for an Andean Bear Habitat. OWH in conjunction with JCO, a leading themed entertainment planning firm, were able to efficiently plan and design this area to become the home of three different animal species: Andean Bears, Sun Bears and African Painted Dogs. These animals’ habitats represent three geographic regions: South America, Africa and Asia. One holding and animal training support common area for the three species was planned and designed to support the new habitat. This commingling effort afforded the zoo the opportunity to add African Painted Dogs, a new species to the zoo as part of this development.

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01 Special Features & Challenges

The River’s Edge Addition Project included a single Holding Building and three Habitats all within an acre of land bordered by the existing River’s Edge Habitats. Special features included waterfalls/streams within each habitat, Bear/Dog dens, tree platforms, and themed viewings pavilions.  A glass panel is all that separates the visitor from the exhibit.  The site was a challenge given the restraints of connecting to each themed geographic region, sharing a Holding Building and keeping disruption to the existing exhibits to a minimum while construction was implemented.

02 Location

St. Louis, MO

03 Completion Date


04 Square Footage

3,800 (Holding Building)

05 Services

Pre-Design, Programming, Planning, Master Plan, Schematic Design, Design Development, Construction Documents, Bidding & Negotiation, Construction Administration, Interior Design, Technical Coordination