Predator Ridge Lion Exhibit
Overview: Predator Ridge is home to 14 different species of mammals, birds and reptiles. There are 50 animals including lions, spotted hyenas and African wild dogs. Digital Roads worked closely with zoo specialist Ecos Communications on the AV design for this state of the art exhibit that opened in June of 2004. The scope of work started with enhancements to the Zoo entrance to get visitors into the sites and sounds of the jungle .
The Zoo’s vision was to build an exhibit that allowed visitors to be totally immersed in the habitat. The video needed to enhance the experience by bringing the animals closer to the visitors with greater detail to facilitate the immersive feel of the exhibit.
Starting at the new entrance, animal sounds surround the visitor through a new sound system. Speaker that look like large rocks were hidden in the garden areas. This system even extends into the public restrooms where animal facts and sounds are heard. As the visitor goes towards the Lion exhibit several stations are located beside the path where, by the push of a button, the visitor can obtain new facts about what they are viewing. Once inside the Lion exhibit, large LCD monitors show video of the Lions’ natural habitat. When the Zoo Keeper enters a staging area, a button push will switch the video to live camera feeds showing the Keeper interacting with the wildlife. All video and audio is being distributed using the AMX MAX video/audio server. The server is located in the main zoo administrative building and distribution is accomplished using fiber and CAT5 cable. The Zoo chose this solution because of its long term plan to expand the exhibits and the desire to use this server to supply video and audio feeds throughout the large campus.
Toyota - Elephant Passage ExhibitOverview: The planning and development for this elaborate 10 acre exhibit spanned a nine year period. Digital Roads' design for the access control and CCTV portions of the project dovetailed with the last four years. The audiovisual systems were designed by Boston Productions and installed by Digital Roads. This 50 million dollar project was one of the most complex and innovative initiatives in the company's history. In 1985, a Kansas City Zoo elephant named Penney lost 10" of her trunk in a hydraulic gate accident. This was a devastating injury for Penney, however, she did heal and adapt, living to the age of 51 before she died in 2003. Her story was a constant reminder for the team that the technology is required to serve the safety needs of both the animals and their handlers. Elephants are smart, curious, strong and mischievous so the technology had to be well thought out and extremely rugged and reliable. [raw]
The Denver Zoo wanted to build the safest elephant habitat anywhere in the world. Animal and Zoo keeper safety was an overarching design priority from start to finish. Digital Roads worked closely with the Zoo to understand the unique needs and capabilities of the animal inhabitants. For instance, an adult elephant standing on his back feet can reach more than 18 feet in the air to remove a CCTV camera from its perch. They are curious animals with lots of free time to problem solve how to defeat/destroy technology. Research on the causes of past animal and handler injuries was a key first step in understanding the unique needs of this project.
This 10 acre exhibit is one of the largest in North America, featuring six expansive outdoor yards, three animal crossings, and more than 1.1 million gallons of water for the exhibit animals to enjoy. This needed to be the first habitat in the country able to house a significant population of bull elephants – allowing it to become an Asian elephant breeding center. The technology needed to integrate seamlessly, function reliably and adhere to “Green” building standards.
The animal population was extensive. Two new elephants – Bodhi, 8, and Groucho, 41, joined the two existing residents Dolly, 47 and Mimi, 52. There are a host of other animals in the exhibit including: Indian rhinos, Malayan Tapirs. Gibbons Monkey, Fishing Cats, Flying Fox, Sarus Crane and Asian Small Clawed Otter.
This project was completed in May of 2012. We are proud to say that as a team we succeeded with flying colors in building the safest elephant habitat in the world. The Toyota Elephant Passage also succeeded in receiving LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for the entire site and all of its buildings.
Utilizing UTC Facility Commander Wnx and AMX control, this sophisticated system of automated hydraulic gates now allows the Zoo to safely move an adult elephant requiring less than half the staff that was previously required. The control room facilitates monitoring of all 36 cameras. There are 12 fixed cameras and 24 PTZ cameras that monitor the entire exhibit. There are a total of 90 automated hydraulic gates and 27 manual gates. The automated gates allow for variable speed controls while the manual gates are simply monitored for status. All camera monitoring as well as automated gate and PTZ camera control is accomplished from the central control room. A Planar quad 47″ Matrix video wall provides the large format necessary to comprehensively monitor and control this large facility. Although our contract was directly with the Denver Zoo, we worked closely with Kiewit Construction who was the general contractor for the project. This job was coordinated and documented using BIM (Revit) processes and procedures..