Hundreds of organizations have come together to officially designate 2018 as the the Year of the Bird, which is especially fitting for us here at the Cincinnati Zoo as we plan to reopen our newly reinterpreted Wings of the World building in early April.
Planning for this project began several years ago, yet physical alterations of the space began only a few months ago. The first order of business was demolition. We removed all of the old signage and interactives as well as the carpeting.
And we also reduced the amount of rockwork, planters and walls in the public space to open the floorplan a bit. This should make it easier for everyone to navigate, especially on busier days.
While the majority of the birds were transferred to temporary housing elsewhere in the building or Zoo, the penguins, puffins and other polar birds had a front row seat to the whole renovation.
Once the walls were patched up and smoothed out, the painting began. We are brightening up the building with a much more playful and colorful palette.
And just this week, the installation of our new signage and interactive elements has begun. It’s fun to see what we’ve drawn and built as small-scale models take actual shape in the space.
We’ve also taken the opportunity while the building has been closed to upgrade the lighting to LED throughout, which will greatly increase the energy efficiency of the facility. In order to accommodate the visual abilities of many bird species, we are also supplementing with UVA-emitting lights and installing new skylights to enhance natural light. Alongside that many of the habitats will also be receiving new vegetation, perching and substrates to maintain a dynamic environment.
Once the finishing touches wrap up over the next couple of weeks, the next step will be to return the birds to their habitats and give them time to reacclimate.
It’s been an exciting journey, and I can’t wait to invite guests to experience the new Wings of the World in early April!