It's All Happening At The Zoo
A zoo is a city -- rather, a world -- unto itself. Its inhabitants run, swim, fly, or even travel through the rainforest on vines; some of them get oxygen from the air and others breathe it in through their gills underwater. Their natural habitats range in climate from the Arctic to the Sahara and everything in between; they come in all shapes and sizes and their diets are just as varied. As if replicating so many different natural environments were not enough of a challenge, there are the zoo visitors to consider as well! Exhibits must be designed and built to create the optimum experience for those on both sides of the viewing window.
Site/civil and structural engineering services play a significant role in creating and maintaining optimal environments for the animals, zoo staff, and visitors. Silver Creek Engineering has provided these services to the Indianapolis Zoo for several exhibit areas throughout the zoo, including the International Orangutan Center, the Cheetah Exhibit in the Plains, the Tiger Forest, the Encounters Exhibit, and the Oceans Building.
In the 1940s, newspaper columnist Lowell Nussbaum used his column, Inside Indianapolis, to campaign for a city zoo. In 1944 the Articles of Incorporation for the Indianapolis Zoological Society were filed with the State of Indiana.
Priorities changed for everyone during World War II, but the Zoo founders continued to plan exhibits, collect animals, and finalize a location. The Zoo opened in 1964 as the Washington Park Children's Zoo.
The Zoo continued to grow, not only in infrastructure and animal acquisitions, but also in the scope of its impact. In 1965, the Washington Park Children's Zoo was one of the first in the U.S. to employ full-time staff members focused on education.
In 1982, the Zoo held a gathering of international zoo, aquarium, and wildlife authorities to establish goals for developing a new world-class zoo. It was decided that the new zoo would reside in the heart of downtown Indianapolis at White River State Park.
The Washington Park Children's Zoo closed its gates on Nov. 1, 1987. It took weeks of preparation to relocate over 500 animals in order to be ready for the Grand Opening of The Indianapolis Zoo on June 11, 1988.
New exhibits continue to be added. Exhibits in the zoo continue to be updated for the mutual benefit of animals and visitors. Lowell Nussbaum's vision to provide people with a place to learn from and be inspired by animals has come to life at the Indianapolis Zoo.