The Arctic Edge will be a walk-through habitat focusing on frozen water. The major attraction will be an enclosure housing several polar bears. Underwater viewing will enable visitors to get an up-close look at the bears’ swimming styles and playful antics. Other enclosures feature Arctic wolves, Lynx, and the majestic Bald Eagle.
Arctic Edge will be a dramatic new habitat focusing on the snowy, frozen climate of the Arctic Circle.
The Polar Bear complex will be comprised of four distinct zones - the Exhibit Area, the Holding Dens, a Cubbing Den, and Management/Service areas for diet preparation, mechanical operation, and life support systems.
A new Entry Plaza will serve as a gathering space for visitors before they pass through the entrance gate. A series of sculptural elements will introduce the Zoo’s organizing water theme in a fun, engaging manner. Interpretive graphics will relate Buffalo’s water story (i.e. Niagara Falls and hydroelectric power, the Erie Canal and transportation) while touching on global water usage. A gift shop and cafe just off the Plaza will be accessible to visitors entering and exiting the Zoo, as well as recreational users of Delaware Park. Finally, a new building adjacent to the Plaza will offer a wide range of visitor amenities: rest rooms, pay phones, vending machines, an automatic teller machine, membership and visitor services, first aid, lost and found, and security.
The African Watering Hole will be an immersive, walk-through enclosure simulating an open savannah. The habitat is organized around a central watering hole featuring zebras, antelope, and gazelles. Water levels will be mechanically controlled to rise and fall seasonally, and the banks of the watering hole will incorporate hoof prints that become visible as the water recedes. Multiple individual enclosures housing hyenas, meerkat, vultures, and rock hyrax will radiate out from the watering hole, so that from a distance the entire zone appears to be one single habitat. The existing giraffe holding facility will be refurbished to serve as off-season viewing for the giraffes and as a year-round facility for smaller African birds.
The West Plaza will be located adjacent to the Main Animal Building. Four large animal enclosures fronting the courtyard will feature popular “signature” species: gorilla, lion, tiger, and crocodile.
Interpretation throughout the Zoo will celebrate the vast array of species and emphasizes their – and our – interdependence, from the tiniest insect to the biggest mammal. Together, the new exhibits at the Buffalo Zoo will enhance appreciation for animals, their environments, and their behaviors. Visitors will go home amazed at the Zoo’s variety of experiences: animal viewing, interpretive exhibits, hands-on activities, play opportunities, and live demonstrations (not to mention new amenities like cafes and snack stands, gift stores, etc.). And, they’ll remember that all living plants, animals, and human cultures share the same world of water..